Leah Bracknell's widower speaks out after Emmerdale actress' death

The widower of former Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell has said his heart is "truly broken" by her death from cancer.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 7:07 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 8:07 am

The 55-year-old passed away last month, three years after she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.

Ms Bracknell was know for her role as Zoe Tate in the West Yorkshire soap, which she played for 16 years until 2005.

Following the announcement of her death last week, her widower Jez Hughes published a moving tribute to his late wife, describing her as the "bravest person I've ever met".

The public Facebook post said: "Thank you everyone for all your kind words, prayers and love.

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"They mean the world to me at this time and I apologise that I can't respond individually as I haven't the words in me right now.

"My darling wife, best friend and soul mate flies free in spirit.

"I have been the luckiest man in the world to spend time walking, dancing, laughing, praying, dreaming, singing, drumming, talking, travelling, crying, planning, hoping, loving, going wild, exploring, rebelling, forgiving, celebrating, playing, sharing secrets at dawn, opening hearts, minds and soul - alongside a woman of such depth, power, humour, humility, honour, intelligence and love- it is impossible to do justice to with the transient, flimsy power of words."

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"She shone bright in this world with fire in her heart and water in her soul," he said.

"The great mystery of existence always visible through her beautiful eyes.

"She inspired and changed the lives of so many, loved ones and strangers alike.

"Every day I learn of more people who she helped which brings the warmth of pride and gratitude to have known her into my heart.

"She taught me more than I'm able to comprehend and we shared more than I dreamt was possible in this life. More than either of us thought was possible."

Hughes continued: "My heart is truly broken and the pain is intense as I wander aimlessly, waiting to awake from this dream, from hour to hour, day to day.

"My only prayer is that through the burning down of everything that I hold sacred and precious, through this raw, primal, timeless wound, something else will arise and I am able to embody just a little of Ali's grace, bravery, tenacity, and lightness, in order to serve her legacy well in the world."

Ms Bracknell's cancer came to light in October 2016 when Mr Hughes crowdfunded thousands for her to receive groundbreaking treatment in German which was unavailable through the NHS.