Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell has died aged 55

Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell filming the soap
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It was announced today that Leah Bracknell has died after a three-year battle with lung cancer...

Actress Leah Bracknell has sadly died at the age of 55 after losing her brave battle against lung cancer.

The Emmerdale star, who played Zoe Tate in Emmerdale for more than 16 years was diagnosed with the terminal illness three years ago.

Today her manager announced the news. In a statement they said: "It is with the deepest sadness that Leah Bracknell's family confirm that Leah has passed away in September.

Emmerdale actress Leah Bracknell in 2006

Emmerdale actress Leah Bracknell in 2006 (pic: Getty Images) (Image credit: Getty Images)

"They would like to thank all the public for their support and generosity which contributed to the extension and quality of her life over the last three years.

"Leah continued to embrace life and faced her illness with positivity. She had an energy and enthusiasm for life, a kind heart and much love to give those around her.

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"Her family have asked for privacy at this very sad time."

As well as becoming a household name for her role in Emmerdale, Leah also appeared in Judge John Deed, A Touch of Frost, The Royal Today and DCI Banks.

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After she was diagnosed with cancer back in 2016 fans helped raise more than £50,000 to undergo groundbreaking treatment in Germany, which sadly she later revealed had failed to work.

John Whiston, the MD of Continuing Drama and Head of ITV in the North said today: "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 the soaps 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."

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.