AUSTRALIAN television legend Penny Cook has died after a battle with cancer.

The A Country Practice star died overnight, her family said in a statement from her management company.

Cook's family said their "beloved partner, mother, daughter, sister and dear friend" died peacefully.

"The family wish to express their thanks for all messages of condolence forwarded to them," they said.

Cook was first on Australian TV screens in the soap series The Restless Years.

She then played veterinarian Vicky Bowen in A Country Practice from 1981 to 1985, starring in 300 episodes.

The multiple Logie award winner was also known for her work on Australian drama The Flying Doctors, and spent a number of years as a presenter on The Great Outdoors.

THE MERGER: Actress, MC and ambassador Penny Cook.
THE MERGER: Actress, MC and ambassador Penny Cook.

Last year the actor said she was most recognised for her role as Vicky the Vet.

But she said people also stopped her because they were convinced they knew her from school.

She told The Wentworth Courier she found those people just as endearing as those who got it right, and was still very grateful to the show that jet-propelled her into the spotlight in her early 20s.

Cook stayed close friends with her onscreen husband Grant Dodwell, who attended her surprise 60th birthday in Paddington last year.

Most recently she played Carol Little in the ABC's hospital drama Pulse and returned to the big screen in Aussie comedy The Merger, released in August.

Cook leaves behind her daughter Poppy and husband David Lynch.

In recent times she looked after her ageing mother before her death and then watched over her stepmother with dementia.

In her hosting roles she has worked alongside the likes of former US president Bill Clinton and Prince Charles.

Tributes have been flowing for the much-loved star, from celebrities and fans alike.

Television presenter Angela Bishop wrote on Twitter: "To A Country Practice fans, she will always be Vicky the vet, but Penny Cook was a brilliant actress, director, storyteller and tv presenter as well as a passionate advocate for young people in the theatre".

THE MERGER: A scene from the new movie with Penny Cook (right hand side), next to her screen husband John Howard.
THE MERGER: A scene from the new movie with Penny Cook (right hand side), next to her screen husband John Howard.

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