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 April 16

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The showbiz world is mourning the loss of acclaimed Peaky Blinders and James Bond star Helen McCrory, who has died aged 52 of cancer.

Tributes were led by her actor husband Damian Lewis who released a heartbreaking statement saying: “She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we love her and know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives.

“She blazed so brightly. Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you.”

Helen had been married to fellow actor Damian since 2007 and shared two children with him – daughter Manon, 14, and 13-year-old son Gulliver.

Helen McCrory with husband Damian Lewis in 2006

Friends and co-stars rushed to pay their tributes to one of Britain’s best-loved actresses who had leading roles in a host of major films and productions, including Harry Potter, Skyfall, Quiz and as Aunt Polly in Peaky Blinders.

Harry Potter writer JK Rowling paid tribute to the actress who played Narcissa Malfoy, mother of Slytherin student Draco, in the Harry Potter films.

She said on Twitter: “I’m devastated to learn of the death of Helen McCrory, an extraordinary actress and a wonderful woman who’s left us far too soon.

“My deepest condolences to her family, especially her husband and children. Simply heartbreaking news.”

Piers Wenger, BBC director of drama, said: “Helen was one of the finest actresses this country will ever see. From Potter to Peaky, from Blair to Bond, Helen’s fearlessness made every part she played unique and unmissable.

“Her body of work speaks of her extraordinary talent, what it doesn’t speak of is her kindness, intelligence and sense of fun.

“This is too soon, too cruel. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this incredibly sad time.”

Actor Michael Sheen, who worked with Helen McCrory in ITV drama Quiz, tweeted: “So funny, so passionate, so smart and one of the greatest actors of our time.

“From the first moment I met her when we were just kids it was obvious she was very special.

“It was an honour to work with her and know her. Much love to Damian and her family.”

Helen McCrory and husband Damian Lewis as she collected her OBE in 2017

Comedian John Bishop tweeted: “I am shattered to hear this news . Helen was a beautiful supportive person to those of us who had the honour to know or work with her. The world has just lost some of its sparkle.

“My heart goes out to Damian and the family, no words of condolences will ever be enough.”

Television presenter Dermot O’Leary said: “Had the good fortune to meet and interview Helen McCrory a few times.

“A mighty talent, with always a hint of mischief. Really lovely company. Very sad news.”

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Former Coronation Street star Michelle Collins tweeted: “I’m really shocked so so sad I had the pleasure of meeting her and briefly worked with her, she certainly was a Tour de force, clever, charming and fierce and a brilliant actor my heart goes out to Damian and her family, bloody cancer I hate you!!”

Original posted at www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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