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  1. ITV Report

Former Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell dies three years after cancer diagnosis

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Sejal Karia

Former Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell has died three years after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

The actress, who played Zoe Tate on the ITV soap for 16 years until 2005, died in September at the age of 55.

A statement from her manager, on behalf of Bracknell’s family, confirmed the death and said: “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. Many aspects of her journey can be found on her blog – somethingbeginningwithc.com.

“Leah was best known and much loved as Zoe Tate in Emmerdale.

"She also had roles in Judge John Deed, A Touch of Frost, The Royal Today and DCI Banks to name just a few, as well as numerous appearances on stage and in pantomime.

"As well as acting, Leah was also an accomplished yoga teacher and shamanic healer.

Leah Bracknell played the character Zoe Tate in the popular soap Credit: PA

““Leah had an energy and enthusiasm for life, a kind heart and much love to give to those around her.

"Her family have asked for privacy at this very sad time.”

The cast and crew of Emmerdale were among the first to pay respect, with the programme tweeting that: "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."

Actor Sarah Lancashire also tweeted, saying: "Such sad news - the brilliant Leah Bracknell has passed away aged 55 after a 3 year cancer battle. Thoughts go out to her family and friends xxxx."

Bracknell’s cancer diagnosis came to light in October 2016 when her husband Jez Hughes launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for her to undergo treatment overseas, due to a lack of options available on the NHS.

The former soap star had been diagnosed in September after rapid weight gain around her abdomen and breathlessness prompted her to seek medical help.

Leah Bracknell as Zoe Tate in Emmerdale Credit: PA

After Bracknell was diagnosed, fans helped her raise more than £50,000 to undergo groundbreaking treatment in Germany.

She started taking new medication, but later revealed that it had failed.

Bracknell has appeared in public numerous times over the past three years, discussing living with cancer and talking openly about her numerous methods to ease her symptoms, and she wrote about her experiences on her blog, Something Beginning With C.

Former Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell, who has died three years after cancer diagnosis Credit: PA