Damian Lewis has penned a heartfelt tribute to his late wife Helen McCrory after she died of cancer aged just 52.
The actor, 50, confirmed Helen had passed away in a statement issued on Friday following a ‘heroic’ battle with the disease.
Writing in The Sunday Times, Damian said his wife had shown ‘no fear, no bitterness, no self-pity’ during her illness.
He wrote: ‘Already I miss her. She has shone more brightly in the last months than you would imagine even the brightest star could shine.
‘In life, too, we had to rise to meet her. But her greatest and most exquisite act of bravery and generosity has been to ‘normalise’ her death.
‘She’s shown no fear, no bitterness, no self-pity, only armed us with the courage to go on and insisted that no one be sad, because she is happy. I’m staggered by her. She’s been a meteor in our life.’
Damian wrote that he had never known anyone who had been able to enjoy life as much as Helen, who had kept her cancer diagnosis private.
The actor added that the Peaky Blinders star did not believe in self-reflection or ‘navel-gazing’ and so was able to ‘turn her light so brightly on others’.
Damian also wrote of his sadness that Helen’s passing meant she had left their children, daughter Manon, 14, and son Gulliver, 13, ‘too early’.
He said the actress had told her children to not be sad shortly before her death because she had lived the life she wanted to.
Damian wrote that only a few weeks ago Helen joked to him and their children from her bed that she wanted ‘Daddy to have girlfriends, lots of them’ but said he should try get through the funeral without snogging someone.
He stood by the actress’ side as she secretly battled the disease, with Helen brushing off her hoarse voice in her final TV appearance last month to selflessly talk about their charity work.
The couple’s devotion to one another shone brightly for all to see, with Damian saying the actress died peacefully at home surrounded by ‘peace and love’ and their children.
Helen’s close friend Carrie Cracknell revealed those close to the Peaky Blinders star ‘were sworn to secrecy’ when it came to her cancer battle.
Discussing her friend’s tragic passing on Saturday, Cracknell, 41 – who is a theatre director – told BBC Radio Four’s Today: ‘Helen wanted to be very private about her illness. Very few people knew. We were sworn to secrecy.’
Touching upon 52-year-old McCrory’s – who passed away on Friday after a ‘heroic’ battle with cancer – resilience, she continued: ‘She faced up to cancer with a level of bravery and humour that was extraordinary.’
Cracknell also said the only reason she had been made aware of McCrory’s diagnoses was because they were planning a Broadway show.
She said: ‘Very few people knew, and I only did because we were planning to transfer a show to Broadway and had to cancel that because she was having treatment.
‘We were sworn to secrecy.’
Helen first met Damian in 2003, when they were both cast in the play Five Gold Rings at the off-West End Almeida Theatre.
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