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Leah Bracknell's heartbroken husband pays tribute to his 'soul mate'

The Emmerdale star passed away in September at the age of 55

Gemma Strong

Leah Bracknell's husband has paid tribute to the late Emmerdale star, following her death at the age of 55. Leah – real name Alison Rosalind Bracknell – lost her battle with lung cancer last month, and her widower Jez Hughes has now spoken out, describing his heart as "truly broken". In a lengthy post shared on Facebook, Jez thanked his friends and family for their support in the wake of his loss. "My darling wife, best friend and soul mate flies free in spirit," he wrote. "I have been the luckiest man in the world to spend time walking, dancing, laughing, praying, dreaming, singing, drumming, talking, travelling, crying, planning, hoping, loving, going wild, exploring, rebelling, forgiving, celebrating, playing, sharing secrets at dawn, opening hearts, minds and soul - alongside a woman of such depth, power, humour, humility, honour, intelligence and love - it is impossible to do justice to with the transient, flimsy power of words."

Leah Bracknell's heartbroken husband has paid tribute to the late star

Describing Leah as "the bravest person I've ever met", Jez said his wife had "faced the last three years of cancer with dignity, grace and light". "She shone bright in this world with fire in her heart and water in her soul," he continued. "The great mystery of existence always visible through her beautiful eyes."

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Jez - who quietly married Leah in March 2017, six months after they learnt her stage 4 cancer was incurable and inoperable, and after 13 years together – went on: "She inspired and changed the lives of so many, loved ones and strangers alike. Every day I learn of more people who she helped which brings the warmth of pride and gratitude to have known her into my heart. She taught me more than I'm able to comprehend and we shared more than I dreamt was possible in this life. More than either of us thought was possible.

Leah lost her battle with cancer in September

"My heart is truly broken and the pain is intense as I wander aimlessly, waiting to awake from this dream, from hour to hour, day to day. My only prayer is that through the burning down of everything that I hold sacred and precious, through this raw, primal, timeless wound, something else will arise and I am able to embody just a little of Ali's grace, bravery, tenacity, and lightness, in order to serve her legacy well in the world."