Leah Bracknell's widower shares emotional tribute to 'soul mate': 'The pain is intense'

Leah Bracknell passed away in September. (ITV)

Jez Hughes, the husband of late star Leah Bracknell, has paid tribute to his wife in an emotional post.

The former Emmerdale actor died in September aged 55 with her death being announced last week, three years on from being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2016.

Hughes shared a tribute to Facebook honouring Bracknell, who was known as 'Ali' to family and friends.

Read more: Emmerdale remembers ‘generous and caring’ Leah Bracknell

He wrote: "Thank you everyone for all your kind words, prayers and love. 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.

"Ali is the bravest person I've ever met and she faced the last three years of cancer with dignity, grace and light. She shone bright in this world with fire in her heart and water in her soul. The great mystery of existence always visible through her beautiful eyes.

Former Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell has died three years after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

"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.

"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.

Actress Leah Bracknell on set during filming of British television soap opera Emmerdale Farm in 1989. (Photo by Tim Roney/Getty Images)

"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."

Mother-of-two Bracknell married Hughes in 2017 following her diagnosis.

She was well known for starring as Zoe Tate in ITV soap Emmerdale for 16 years and also had roles in Judge John Deed, A Touch of Frost, The Royal Today and DCI Banks.