Dawn French expresses heartache in emotional tribute to late father

The actress was 19 when she lost her dad

Dawn French has released an extremely touching tribute to her late father Denys, who passed away 44 years ago. The 63-year-old star took to Instagram on Father's Day to share a throwback photograph of her younger self alongside her dad and told her followers just how much she misses him.

"44 years without you but miss you a lot. Especially on Father's Day," she remarked in the caption.

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The Vicar of Dibley star, who lost her father when she was 19 years old, was inundated with heartwarming messages, with one reading: "Thinking of you. My dad died almost 43 years ago, the day after I was born. Can't even begin to explain how it is to miss someone I never got to meet."

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"My first without mine today x," one other follower stated, while a third wrote: "Lovely photo. How proud he would be watching down on you, so many smiles to people's faces and a national treasure."

Dawn has previously opened up about her father, who took his own life at the age of 45 in 1977. Speaking on the Happy Place podcast back in 2018, the star revealed how his passing affected her life and admitted she didn't expect to see 60.

Dawn shared this throwback photo with her late father

"Until quite recently, I think I've always thought that I wouldn’t make old bones," she confessed to host Fearne Cotton. "Being 19 and losing your dad made me think, 'Oh God, maybe we don't live very long.'"

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She added: "I grasped any opportunity I could, but I was aware that I thought 'I need to get old enough to grow my daughter into her twenties at least, then she'd manage without me after that'. I was thinking like that - which is ridiculous. It's possibly to do with losing my dad so early...thinking life is a bit fragile and it can be a bit temporary."

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