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Former Emmerdale actress Leah Bracknell's widower opens up about grief following her tragic death

The actress passed away in September 2019 at the age of 55

Hanna Fillingham

Leah Bracknell's husband has opened up about the devastating loss of the Emmerdale star, following her death at the age of 55. The actress lost her battle with lung cancer in September, and her widower Jez Hughes has revealed that he has been turning to Ricky Gervasis' After Life to help him cope with Leah's passing. The Netflix series explores the protagonist trying to cope with his wife's death, and Jez opened up about watching it in a new Facebook post. He wrote: "It was bitingly close to the bone but there were moments that captured something honest and true, which I suppose is the post of all art – the moment where we are able to step out of the cage of isolation into something greater than ourselves through shared experience."

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Leah Bracknell tragically lost her battle with cancer in September

In the post, Jez also heartbreakingly opened up about having to completely rebuild his life now that Leah is gone. He wrote: "A thought came to me yesterday that I'm going to have to completely rebuild my life. A bleeding obvious thought all things considered but it still surprised me with its clarity. A dull realisation that emerged in a gap between feeling. No one expects to become a widower at 46, even the word is an odd one, barely used outside of official parlance. In a way, I'm glad there is a name though, a transitional identity or framing of an experience that is so bewilderingly huge, soy beyond words, beyond comprehension and one that threatens to overwhelm at every turn."

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The former Emmerdale actress had bravely spoke out about her diagnosis on TV

The star – who played Zoe Tate in Emmerdale - quietly married Jez six months after they learnt that her cancer was incurable and inoperable. Leah was told she had stage four lung cancer in 2016, and passed away three years after her diagnosis. The actress would regularly update her fans on her health battle in a blog called Something Beginning with C, and many were in awe of her bravery and strength. In a previous Facebook post shortly after his wife's passing, Jez described Leah as "the bravest person I’ve ever met", and 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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