‘The world has lost a little sparkle’ – Stars pay tribute to Leah Bracknell

By Julia Hunt, PA Entertainment Correspondent

Emmerdale and Coronation Street actress Sally Ann Matthews said the “world has lost a little sparkle” after the death of Leah Bracknell.

The actress, who played Zoe Tate on Emmerdale for 16 years until 2005, died in September at the age of 55, three years after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

Matthews was among the first to pay tribute.

“So sorry to hear that the beautiful soul, Leah Bracknell, has lost her battle with cancer,” she said on Twitter.

“The world has lost a little sparkle x.”

Former Coronation Street star Sarah Lancashire said: “Such sad news – the brilliant Leah Bracknell has passed away aged 55 after a three year cancer battle.

“Thoughts go out to her family and friends.”

Director Duncan Foster said: “I’m truly sad to hear that we have lost Leah Bracknell.

“She was one of the first actresses I ever worked with. Very talented and also just a very special woman.

“So sad. RIP Leah. X.”

John Whiston, ITV’s managing director of continuing drama and head of ITV in the North, said: “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.”

Life On Mars actor Dean Andrews said Bracknell was “a wonderful actress” who was “taken far too young”.

Emmerdale’s Lisa Riley said on Instagram: “GOD BLESS YOU LEAH a true angel to work with.

“You lost your battle far far to young. R.I.P. heaven gains an angel of the truest form.”

Coronation Street’s Sally Dynevor said Bracknell was “an inspiration”.

“So sorry to hear Leah Bracknell passed away,” she tweeted.

“Such a beautiful person and an inspiration to many #so shockedtooyoung.”

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