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Helen McCrory: Peaky Blinders actress dies aged 52, husband Damian Lewis says

Actress Helen McCrory, known for her roles in Peaky Blinders and three Harry Potter films, has died of cancer at the age of 52, according to her husband, the actor Damian Lewis.

He wrote on Twitter: “I’m heartbroken to announce that after an 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 family and friends.

“She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we love her and we know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives.”

He added: “She blazed so brightly. Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you.”

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McCrory played Aunt Polly, the matriarch of the Shelby clan, in all five series of hit BBC period gang drama Peaky Blinders from its start in 2013.

“She really is the brains with Tommy behind the family and you see the difference of how to rule,” she said when speaking about 2014’s second series.

Helen McCrory in Peaky Blinders
image captionHelen McCrory starred in all five series of Peaky Blinders

“One from a male point of view, which is much more physical and violent and threatening, and one from a female point of view, which is just as physically violent and threatening, but is also psychological.”

She also played Narcissa Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Part 2. Her character was the wife of Lucius Malfoy and Draco’s mother.

Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory
image captionDamian Lewis and Helen McCrory married in 2007

Her other roles included playing former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife Cherie in the films The Queen and The Special Relationship, and she provided the voice of Stelmaria, Lord Asriel’s snow leopard daemon, in the recent BBC One TV series His Dark Materials.

BBC One series Doctor Who paid tribute to the actress, who appeared in 2010 episode The Vampires of Venice.

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As well as her film and TV credits, she also had a long and acclaimed career on stage.

She married Homeland star Lewis in 2007 and they have two children.