Peaky Blinders and Harry Potter star Helen McCrory has passed away at 52 after a ‘heroic battle’ with cancer, her heartbroken husband Damian Lewis today confirmed.
The ‘beautiful and mighty’ actress, who played Polly Gray in hit crime series Peaky Blinders and Narcissa Malfoy in the Potter franchise, died at home while surrounded by ‘peace and love’.
In a moving tribute on Twitter, Lewis said: ‘I’m heartbroken to announce that after a heroic battle with cancer, 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.’
The family had not publicly announced the news of her illness.
McCrory was born in Paddington, London, to a Welsh mother and Scottish-born father and was the eldest of three children.
She attended school in Hertfordshire, then spent a year living in Italy, before returning to London to study acting at the Drama Centre.
McCrory and Lewis married in 2007 and share a daughter Manon, born in 2006, and son Gulliver, born in 2007.
Peaky Blinders and Harry Potter star Helen McCrory has passed away at 52 after ‘heroic battle’ with cancer, her husband Damian Lewis confirmed this afternoon (the couple are pictured last month on Good Morning Britain)
Happy times: Helen had been married to fellow actor Damian since 2007 and shared two children with him – daughter Manon, 14, and 13-year-old son Gulliver (the couple pictured in February last year)
Helen pictured as Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders left, and as Narcissa Malfoy in the Potter franchise right
Announcement: In his statement on Twitter , Damian penned: ‘I’m heartbroken to announce that after a heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family
The couple fell in love when they were both cast in the play Five Gold Rings at the off-West End Almeida Theatre back in 2003.
The couple were last seen during an appearance on Good Morning Britain last month, where they appeared to speak about their charity work for the Prince’s Trust and the Prince’s Trust Awards.
Her passing comes after she joined Damian on the BBC Coronavirus Newscast podcast to discuss the difficulties she’s been feeling in the pandemic.
She said: ‘We’re all doing our bit and not going out. But you feel responsible, you know you’re watching the news, we’re all reading it, we’re all finding out what’s happening over the world, and it’s so overwhelming…
Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory at the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles in September 2012
Damian Lewis receives an OBE pictured with Helen McCrory at Buckingham Palace in November 2014
Helen McCrory and Jennifer Saunders at the British Vogue Centenary Gala Dinner in London in May 2016
‘It sort of seems, as Damian says, it’s fantastical. You think you’re absolutely fine, you’re pottering along, you’re coping with it. Cleaning, cooking, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, cooking. And you suddenly burst into tears.
‘And it’s this fear, and it’s the vulnerability coming out, and then you pick yourself up and you go along again as if nothing happened. And it’s very surreal.’
The couple are known for their philanthropic efforts and have dedicated much of their time to charity work.
In September 2019, they were on hand to help honour finance workers killed in September 11 attacks, as they took calls on behalf of their chosen charity Cure EB.
Last year, they held a fundraiser in which they hoped to raise £1million to give hot meals to busy NHS staff who are working tirelessly during the coronavirus crisis.
On the fundraiser, she said at the time: ‘So we decided that we wanted to try and get food to these people who were working such long hours and weren’t able to.
‘So we phoned a man called John Vincent, who’s at Leon, and he was already interested, and already trying to help the NHS.
‘And together we started a campaign to try and raise £1 million to feed NHS, which the front line was London initially, and as we’re getting closer to that million, we’re taking that out nationwide.’