Downton Abbey's Peter Egan reveals his 'heart is broken' following wife's death

The couple were married for 49 years

Actor Peter Egan has shared the devastating news that his wife of 49 years, Myra, has died of cancer.

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Sharing the news on social media, he wrote: "This is the saddest post I will ever have to make. My wonderful wife Myra, my friend & soulmate lost her battle with cancer at 1.30am on Tuesday. This message is for all her followers on her FB & Twitter @EganMyra. She was the most amazing human being. My heart is broken."

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The post was accompanied by a video, in which the 74-year-old star confessed that he is "absolutely devastated" and that he will be taking a break from social media to "get myself together" and arrange her funeral.

"I've been absent from social media quite a lot recently, people asking why and indeed so is my wonderful wife of 49 years Myra, who like me has been a very active campaigner for a long time for all of the animals of the world that we care about," Peter began.

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Peter with his wife Myra and daughter Rebecca

He then added: "She was the most amazing woman I've ever met, I miss her desperately... I will carry on my campaigning because she was the person that taught me to be human, to be compassionate, to be kind and to be empathetic."

Peter and Myra met in 1972 on-set of TV drama The Organization and married four years later. They have a daughter together, Rebecca, who like both parents, is also an actress.

While Myra was a retired actress, Peter has continued his career and is best known for his roles as Nicola Walker’s on-screen dad, Martin Hughes, in ITV series Unforgotten, as well as his role as Paul in After Life and Hugh 'Shrimpie' MacClare, Marquess of Flintshire in Downton Abbey.