EastEnders viewers mourn Abi as Branning family switch off life support
EastEnders waved goodbye to one of its popular characters on Friday night after Abi Branning had her life support machine switched off.
Albert Square was a sombre sight as the character, played by actress Lorna Fitzgerald, passed away following a tragic fall from the roof of the Queen Vic pub on Christmas Day.
Mother Tanya Branning (Jo Joyner) returned for the emotional episode where she accused her ex-husband, Max Branning (Jake Wood) of killing their daughter.
Also gathered at the hospital were Abi’s step-grandmother, Dot Branning, as well as sister Lauren who survived the Christmas Day accident as the siblings plummeted together.
Her life support was eventually switched off at 8.32pm on the show – the same time Abi was born – with other characters raising a glass to her in the Queen Vic.
Fans were heartbroken by the episode which ended in silence without the trademark theme tune.
@LuceValentine1 posted on Twitter: “#EastEnders was so heartbreaking tonight… Abi has been in the soap since she was a little girl and without the actress changing. I liked that they had no sound at the end too just made her last scenes more special…. RIP Abi Branning.”
@IamBethrose tweeted: “What a heartbreaking but wonderful way to say goodbye to @LornaFitz0! I was in tears all the way through. Phenomenal performances from @mrjakedwood, @jacquelineMjos and @dollyjoyner as per usual.”
@LeeGibson_ wrote: “Eastenders was so emotional. Rip Abi.”
@RebeccaParfit tweeted: “As annoying as Abi could be, I have genuinely bawled at tonight’s episode. She’s been in the program a long time and her character will be missed. Very sad to watch.”
@KSC_Ltd posted: “Awww so Abi was born at 8:32 and she’ll die at 8:32.”
Joyner also paid tribute to actress Fitzgerald, tweeting: “Night, Night and God Bless little Abs. Thanks for all the lovely support for us #brannings Good luck and see you soon wonderful, talented, beautiful @LornaFitz0 it’s been a pleasure being your pretend mummy.”