Former Emmerdale actress Leah Bracknell has died at the age of 55, three years after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

Her manager confirmed that the actress passed away in September, the same month she posted her final Twitter and Instagram updates.

On Twitter on September 10, Leah shared a link to a petition with her 3,400 followers, urging them to sign.

The tweet read: "I'm standing #shouldertoshoulder with the NHS and Cancer Research UK to tackle staff shortages and ensure everyone diagnosed with cancer is given the best chance of survival."

Her final Instagram upload was to bring attention to the campaign too, though with a much longer attached message.

  • Tributes pour in as Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell dies from cancer, aged 55

  • Leah Bracknell dead: Emmerdale actress dies from cancer aged 55

Again on September 10, Leah continued: "Over 110,000 people are diagnosed too late for meaningful treatment for their cancer in the UK.

"Staff shortages and inadequate diagnostic training is costing lives.

"My own experience, despite contact with four GPs, did not pick up on the severity of the situation and meant I was rushed to hospital where a life saving operation had to be performed.

"I was extremely lucky. I had not shown any of the classic symptoms associated with lung cancer. And due to the stigma surrounding smoking and cancer I did not fit the statistical profile of someone with lung cancer.

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"So medical professionals are missing the bigger picture, especially as up to 15% of lung cancers are diagnosed in non-smokers. Often very young.

"Please support this vital call for improving services for the sake of your loves ones and yourselves. Thank you."

So far, more than 12,000 people have signed Cancer Research's petition, asking the Government to "train and employ more staff to diagnose and treat cancer early".

Today, Leah's manager broke the tragic news of her passing in a heartbreaking statement.

It read: "It is with the deepest sadness that Leah Bracknell's family confirm that Leah passed away in September, three years after her diagnosis with stage 4 lung cancer.

"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 past three years.

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"Leah continued to embrace life and faced her illness with positivity. Many aspects of her journey can be found on her blog.

"Leah was best known and much loved as Zoe Tate in Emmerdale.

"She also had roles in Judge John Deed, A Touch of Frost, The Royal Today and DCI Banks to name just a few, as well as numerous appearances on stage and in pantomime.

"As well as acting, Leah was also an accomplished yoga teacher and shamanic healer.

"Leah had an energy and enthusiasm for life, a kind heart and much love to give to those around her.

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

Leah is best known for playing Zoe Tate in ITV soap Emmerdale, between 1989 and 2005.

Emmerdale continues tonight at 7pm on ITV.

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