Leah Bracknell's former Emmerdale co-stars have posted moving tributes to the actress following the news that she has died from cancer. Leah was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in 2016 and her manager confirmed on Wednesday that the 55-year-old had died in September. In a statement, she 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."
Leah was diagnosed with cancer in 2016
Her former colleagues were quick to take to social media after learning the tragic news, with Lisa Riley (Mandy Dingle) tweeting: "GOD BLESS YOU LEAH. A true angel to work with. You lost your battle far, far too young. R.I.P. Heaven gains an angel of the truest form." Sally Ann Matthews, who played Sandra Briggs in Emmerdale, was also saddened, writing: "So sorry to hear that the beautiful soul, Leah Bracknell, has lost her battle with cancer. The world has lost a little sparkle x."
Meanwhile, Kelli Hollis, who played Ali Spencer on the ITV show, added: "So sad to hear the amazing and kind @LeahBracknell has passed away. I had a great time when I worked with her on Emmerdale 16 years ago. And we stayed in touch ever since. Very sad day now she's gone xxx." Ashes To Ashes actor Dean Andrews, who joined the cast this year, tweeted: "Very sad to hear the passing of Leah Bracknell. She was a wonderful actress in @emmerdale and taken far too young #RIP." Laura Norton, best known as Kerry Wyatt on the soap, added: "What an amazing lady. Very sad."
The actress starred in the soap for 16 years
Playing vet Zoe Tate on the show between 1999 and 2005 established Leah as an iconic character on the Yorkshire-set soap. A tweet from the programme's official account read: "Everyone on Emmerdale is very sad to hear of the death of Leah Bracknell. She was a hugely popular member of the Emmerdale cast for over 16 years. Leah was a very generous and caring colleague, much loved by cast and crew alike."
Duncan Foster, who directed over 200 episodes of the soap, confirmed that fact, writing: "I’m truly sad to hear that we have lost Leah Bracknell. She was one of the first actresses I ever worked with. Very talented and also just a very special woman. So sad. RIP Leah. X."
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