THE much-loved Scottish actor and comedian Johnny Beattie has died at the age of 93.

A veteran theatre star, Johnny most recently played Shieldinch’s favourite pensioner Malcolm Henderson on River City, joining at the launch of the BBC soap in 2002, spending 13 years with the programme.

He is believed to have passed away peacefully after a short spell at St Margaret’s Hospice.

Tributes have been paid by the Pavillion Theatre, which said he was a "great friend" of the Glasgow venue.

In a tweet, Iain Gordon from the theatre wrote: "We have just received the very sad news that Johnny Beattie has passed away.

"Johnny was a great friend to the theatre and must have been one of the few last remaining performers from magical days of variety theatre.

Glasgow Times:

"He was a great man to sit and talk to about the legends of Scottish Theatre and there cannot be a theatre in Scotland that Johnny did not perform and star in.

"He was one of these performers that just went on stage and gave the audience what they wanted, a funny man and Scottish legend.

"As he always said: 'Happy for Tabs!' 

"Rest in peace Johnny, make them laugh! It was great to work with you and even better to know you."

A giant of the Scottish comedy scene, Johnny got into showbiz through amateur dramatics, having started his career in the Govan shipyards.

He was a stand-up comic, panto dame and TV quiz show host as well as starring in 1990 movie The Big Man with Liam Neeson. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also paid tribute, tweeting: "So sad to hear that Johnny Beattie has died.

"He was a hugely talented performer and a truly lovely man.

"The photo here was taken at the Govan Fair a few years ago - he had us in stitches.

"Today, we’ve lost a national treasure, and my thoughts are with his loved ones."