Actor Sam Gannon who played Kev in Emmerdale dies suddenly in California

Sam Gannon
Sam Gannon Credit: Just Giving

An actor who appeared in Emmerdale has died suddenly while in the United States.

Sam Gannon, 31, who played Kev in the Yorkshire soap in 2019, was staying with family in Willows, California, when he died. His death is not being treated as suspicious.

His sister Amy Kelly, who lives in Howden, described him as "a whirlwind, a unique character".

She said: "He genuinely cared for others and was a very sensitive soul."

Sam played the role of horse-drawn carriage coachman Kev in Emmerdale, starring alongside Emma Atkins, who plays Charity Dingle.

Sam Gannon played Kev in Emmerdale Credit: ITV/Emmerdale

Best-known for his performances on stage, he grew up in Brayton near Selby, North Yorkshire and was a member of the Northumberland Theatre Company, who said in a social media post that they were "deeply saddened to hear of the passing of one of our own".

The group added: "He delighted audiences with his charm, his wit and his wonderful musical abilities.

"Sam was described by many as being like a human Duracell bunny, with limitless energy, always running around the rehearsal room and almost having too many creative ideas to keep locked up in his brain. In short, Sam could be a handful at times! But he was always fantastic as soon as you got him on that stage.

"He has also been described as a genuinely lovely lad, a wonderful human and a good friend to many."

Sam Gannon, left, was best known as a stage actor. Credit: Facebook

A crowdfunding appeal has been launched to pay for the costs of Sam's repatriation and funeral.

Writing on the Just Giving website, Jonathan Kelly, who started the appeal, said: "Sam was a true performer, and any extra money raised will be donated to a UK charity supporting youth theatre, a cause close to Sam’s heart.

"Amy, Sam’s sister, is also looking at setting up a foundation in Sam’s name to support people who find themselves in a similar position to him and need extra support."

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