Elisabeth Sladen, who played Doctor Who's companion Sarah Jane Smith in several seasons of the series, as well as starring in her own Doctor Who spinoff The Sarah Jane Adventures, has passed away. Sladen first started on Doctor Who in 1973 as a replacement for Third Doctor Jon Pertwee's companion; she played journalist Sarah Jane Smith for three-and-a-half seasons alongside Pertwee and Fourth Doctor Tom Baker. She then reprised the popular role over the years in pilots, audio plays, and eventually in the Doctor Who revival in 2006.
Sladen's return to the role on the new Doctor Who series was so popular that she received her own TV show in 2007, The Sarah Jane Adventures, which went on to run for four seasons. Sarah Jane Adventures itself spawned a spinoff, Sarah Jane's Alien Files.
Sarah Jane Smith is generally considered to be one of the most beloved and well-remembered of the Doctor's many companions, which is most certainly a tribute to what magic Sladen brought to the role; she will be missed.