Emma Chambers dead: Dawn French and Hugh Grant lead tributes to star after death aged 53

Patrick Grafton-Green
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Emma Chambers dead: Vicar of Dibley star, 53, died of ‘suspected heart attack’

Co-stars Dawn French and Hugh Grant have led tributes to actress Emma Chambers after she died of natural causes aged 53.

Chambers was best known for playing lovable Alice Tinker in The Vicar of Dibley alongside French, and also starred as ditzy Honey in Notting Hill opposite Grant.

On Saturday evening, French posted a photo on Twitter of the pair lying on the sofa together.

She wrote: "I was regularly humped like this by the unique & beautiful spark that was Emma Chambers.

"I never minded. I loved her. A lot"

She added in a statement: "Emma was a very bright spark and the most loyal and loving friend anyone could wish for. I will miss her very much."

Hugh Grant described Chambers as “hilarious and very warm”. He called news of her death "very sad".

Jon Plowman, who produced The Vicar of Dibley and is the former head of comedy at the BBC, said: “This is a sad day. Emma was a gifted comic actress who made any part she played – no matter how ditzy or other worldly – look easy.

“To create a much loved comic character as she did, you have to be every bit as bright and clever as Emma always was.

“She was great fun to work with and adored by all the cast and crew of Vicar of Dibley.”

Actor James Dreyfus, who starred in Notting Hill, said Chambers was “unspeakably funny” as he too paid tribute on social media.

He tweeted: "RIP the wonderful and talented Emma Chambers. Unique & unspeakably funny. Too young."

Meanwhile broadcaster Emma Freud, wife of The Vicar of Dibley's creator Richard Curtis, tweeted: "Our beautiful friend Emma Chambers has died at the age of 53. We're very very sad.

"She was a great, great comedy performer, and a truly fine actress. And a tender, sweet, funny, unusual, loving human being."