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Leah Bracknell Remembered By Emmerdale Cast In Touching Tributes After Her Death Aged 55

HuffPost UK logo HuffPost UK 17/10/2019 Ash Percival
Claire King, Leah Bracknell posing for the camera: Leah Bracknell and Claire King in Emmerdale © Rex Leah Bracknell and Claire King in Emmerdale

The cast of Emmerdale has lead the tributes to former star Leah Bracknell, following her death at the age of 55. 

News of the actor’s death was announced on Wednesday, with her manager confirming she had died in September, three years after being diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.  

Leah played Zoe Tate on Emmerdale for 16 years until 2005 and was remembered with great fondness by her co-stars on Twitter.

Leah Bracknell looking at the camera: Leah Bracknell pictured in 2001 © PA Wire/PA Images Leah Bracknell pictured in 2001

Lisa Riley, who plays Mandy Dingle, was among the first to share her condolences, praising Leah as “a true angel to work with”.

Claire King, who plays Zoe’s former step-mother Kim Tate, called her “gorgeous, beautiful, talented and lovely”. 

Mark Charnock, aka Marlon Dingle, said that the world had “lost one of the truly good ones”, while Paddy Kirk actor Dominic Brunt said Leah was “truly amazing in lots of different ways”. 

Many other famous names also shared tributes online:

John Whiston, ITV’s managing director of continuing drama and head of ITV in the North, said: “Everyone on Emmerdale is very sad to hear of the death of Leah Bracknell.

“Leah was a hugely popular member of the Emmerdale cast for over 16 years.

“During that time she featured in some of the show’s most high profile and explosive plots and always delivered a pitch perfect performance.

“Zoe Tate was one of soap’s first lesbian characters and Leah made sure the character was both exciting and credible.

“Leah herself was a very generous and caring colleague, much loved by cast and crew alike.”

a man and a woman looking at the camera: Leah was involved in some of Emmerdale's biggest storylines © ITV/Shutterstock Leah was involved in some of Emmerdale's biggest storylines

Leah revealed that she had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in October 2016, aged 52.

Her diagnosis came to light when her partner launched a Go Fund Me page to raise money for her to undergo treatment overseas, due to a lack of options available on the NHS.

More than 2,500 fans joined together to raise £50,000 to help pay for cutting-edge treatment for her in Germany.

In August, she told of how her cancer treatment had stopped working.

After Leah left Emmerdale in an episode that was voted the Best Exit at the British Soap Awards in 2006, she went on to appear in shows including Judge John Deed, Casualty 1907, Doctors and The Royal Today.

More recently, she had embarked on a career as a yoga and meditation teacher.

Leah is survived by her husband Jez Hughes and her two daughters, Maya and Lily Watson. 

In pictures: Stars we lost in 2019 (Wonderwall)


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