After a battle with lung cancer, Emmerdale actress Leah Bracknell has died at the age of 55, her manager has announced.
In a statement they said: “It is with the deepest sadness that Leah Bracknell’s family confirm that Leah passed away in September, three years after her diagnosis with stage 4 lung cancer.
“They would like to thank all the public for their support and generosity which contributed to the extension and quality of her life over the past three years.
“Leah continued to embrace life and faced her illness with positivity. Many aspects of her journey can be found on her blog.
“Leah was best known and much loved as Zoe Tate in Emmerdale.
“She also had roles in Judge John Deed, A Touch of Frost, The Royal Today and DCI Banks to name just a few, as well as numerous appearances on stage and in pantomime.
“As well as acting, Leah was also an accomplished yoga teacher and shamanic healer.
“Leah had an energy and enthusiasm for life, a kind heart and much love to give to those around her.
“Her family have asked for privacy at this very sad time.”
After announced her diagnosis in September 2016, Leah said: “I was feeling perfectly well, fit and healthy.
Teaching yoga classes and workshops, it was a time of new beginnings: preparing to move house, youngest child fleeing the nest, and excited to be starting rehearsals for a comedy play, being back onstage, going on tour.
“But, it turns out that the universe had other plans. Life was about to be unexpectedly turned on its head.
“I began to feel breathless climbing stairs … I just put it down to a bit of stress.
“My abdomen suddenly ballooned – and within a matter of a few days I looked heavily pregnant.
“I could barely walk or breathe. Then, one Saturday night at the beginning of September I ended up in A&E.”
Her Emmerdale co-stars immediately rallied around her at the time of the diagnosis, with Dominic Brunt, who played Paddy Kirk, saying: “I visited my friend Leah. There is always hope.”
In August 2017 it was announced her targeted biological therapy had stopped working and that she had been surviving solely on expensive alternative treatments for several months.