Ant and Dec pay tribute to Emmerdale star Dale Meeks following his death aged 48

Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly have tweeted a tribute to the late Dale Meeks, who played Greg in Byker Grove.

Meeks died on Saturday (April 23) at the age of 48. The actor played Simon Meredith in Emmerdale between 2003 and 2006, with further TV credits including Inspector George Gently, Being Human and The Hunt for Raoul Moat, which recently premiered on ITV.

dale meeks

Saturday Night Takeaway duo Ant and Dec jointly wrote: "We are so incredibly sorry to hear the very sad news of Dale's passing.

"He was the loveliest of guys, even though he was a Denton 'Burner', the arch nemesis of the Byker 'Grovers'!

"A sad loss at such a young age. RIP Dale. Sleep well bonny lad."

Announcing the news, a relative of Dale's wrote on Facebook: "So unbelievably sad. Brother in Law, mucca, side kick and just the BEST friend a lad could have wished for. RIP Dale Meeks. So much less to laugh about now you're not there to share it with.

"Thanks everyone for all the beautiful messages and memories you have been sharing. The support of Dale's friends has been so incredibly strong over these chaotic, heartbreaking final hours, I can only stand in awe."

nicola wheeler, simon meredith, lesley meredith, emmerdale

Dale's brother Philip has since confirmed to PA (via BBC News) that his brother died of heart failure at a Tyneside hospital on Saturday evening, a month prior to his 49th birthday.

"My heart is broken," Philip said.

Emmerdale star Nick Miles, who plays Jimmy King on the soap, also shared a tribute, writing: "Such sad news. He was a lovely generous man. RIP."

Away from scripted TV, Dale's theatre roles included a UK touring production of Chicago.

He also appeared alongside Emmerdale co-star Mark Charnock on Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes, with the pair winning with their performance as the Blues Brothers.

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