Ex-Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell dies aged 55 after three-year cancer battle

16 October 2019, 17:03 | Updated: 16 October 2019, 17:12

Leah Bracknell has died, her manager announced today
Leah Bracknell has died, her manager announced today. Picture: Instagram/ITV

Leah, who used to star in Emmerdale, has died aged 55

Leah Bracknell has died after a three-year battle with cancer, her manager has confirmed.

Leah Bracknell has died of cancer
Leah Bracknell has died of cancer. Picture: PA

The ex-Emmerdale star was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in 2016.

She was best known for playing the role of Zoe Tate in Emmerdale, first appearing in 1989 and featuring for 16 years. She left the soap in 2005, and won a British Soap Award for best exit the following year.

Leah starred in Emmerdale for 16 years
Leah starred in Emmerdale for 16 years. Picture: Getty

Her manager said in a statement: "It is with the deepest sadness that Leah Bracknell's family confirm that Leah passed away in September, three years after her diagnosis with stage 4 lung cancer.

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

Leah Bracknell has died aged 55
Leah Bracknell has died aged 55. Picture: Getty

"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 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."

John Whiston, MD Continuing Drama & Head of ITV in the North, said in a statement: "Everyone on Emmerdale is very sad to hear of the death of Leah Bracknell. Leah was a hugely popular member of the Emmerdale cast for over 16 years. During that time she featured in some of the show's most high profile and explosive plots and always delivered a pitch perfect performance. Zoe Tate was one of soap's first lesbian characters and Leah made sure the character was both exciting and credible. Leah herself was a very generous and caring colleague, much loved by cast and crew alike."