Herald on Sunday

‘She blazed so brightly’


Helen McCrory has died after an “heroic battle” with cancer, her husband announced yesterday as he led tributes to the actress.

McCrory, known for her roles in the Harry Potter series and Peaky Blinders, died at home aged 52.

Fellow performer Damian Lewis, who married McCrory in 2007, shared the news of her death and paid tribute to the star of stage and screen.

In a statement posted online he said: “I’m heartbroke­n to announce that after an heroic battle, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family.

“She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we love her and know how lucky

we are to have had her in our lives.

“She blazed so brightly. Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you.” Lewis has previously said that it was a dream to be married to McCrory, stating he had always imagined “falling in love with a beautiful, talented actress”.

She said their first meeting had been love at first sight.

New Zealand actor Sam Neill was among other stars paying tribute.

He wrote that he was “devastated” to hear she had died, and reflected on their time together in Peaky Blinders. Neill played Chief Inspector Chester Campbell in the show.

Lewis and McCrory, who had a son and daughter together, had kept her cancer diagnosis private, and

McCrory continued to raise awareness for charities until six weeks before her death.

In 2020, along with her husband and Matt Lucas, she launched a charity campaign to support NHS workers by providing them with nutritious meals.

Paying tribute to her charity work, Lucas said she would be remembered for her “selflessne­ss and generosity”.

The London-born actress was educated at the Drama Centre in the capital before beginning her career on the stage.

She won awards for her work in

the series Streetlife and her portrayal of Rose Fitzgerald in North Square, a legal drama.

She became known for her portrayal of Cherie Blair in The Queen and The Special Relationsh­ip, and for starring in the Harry Potter franchise as Narcissa Malfoy.

JK Rowling, the Harry Potter author, said she was “an extraordin­ary actress and a wonderful woman who’s left us far too soon”.

In 2013 she returned to TV in the BBC series Peaky Blinders, playing Aunt Polly, a matriarcha­l figure for the criminal Shelby family.

 ?? Photos / AP ?? Helen McCrory, and inset with actor husband Damian Lewis.
Photos / AP Helen McCrory, and inset with actor husband Damian Lewis.
 ??  ?? Sam Neill
Sam Neill
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