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April 17, 2021

Tributes have been paid to Peaky Blinders star Helen McCrory who has died aged 52 from cancer.

Her husband and fellow actor Damian Lewis announced the news saying she had been “surrounded by a wave of love” and died peacefully at home.

The couple, who married in 2007, had a daughter Manon, born in 2006, and son Gulliver, born in 2007.

In a message posted on social media, Lewis said: “I’m heartbroken to announce that after an heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family.”

McCrory, who was awarded the OBE for services to drama in 2017, was probably best known for playing the fearsome matriarch Polly in crime drama Peaky Blinders but also had a critically acclaimed stage career winning plaudits for National Theatre roles in productions of Medea and Terence Rattigan’s post war drama The Deep Blue Sea.

Her Peaky Blinders co-star Cillian Murphy paid tribute, saying: “I am broken-hearted to lose such a dear friend.

“Helen was a beautiful, caring, funny, compassionate human being.

“She was also a gifted actor – fearless and magnificent. She elevated and made humane every scene, every character she played.

“It was a privilege to have worked with this brilliant woman, to have shared so many laughs over the years.

“I will dearly miss my pal. My love and thoughts are with Damian and her family.”

McCrory also starred in ITV drama Quiz and a number of the Harry Potter films as well as the Bond film Skyfall. The actress also played Cherie Blair, wife of former prime minister Tony Blair, in both The Queen and The Special Relationship.

She was a constant supporter of the London theatre scene, a regular at the Evening Standard theatre awards and just this year lent her support to the paper’s Future Theatre Fund which gave financial support to the next generation of talent.

Evening Standard Reports