Emmerdale leaves viewers in tears as stars pay tribute to late Leah Bracknell in Tate Family Tree special

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Emmerdale has left viewers in tears as they paid an emotional tribute to the late Leah Bracknell on the Tate Family Tree special.

Leah tragically lost her battle with lung cancer at the age of 55 in October last year after being diagnosed with the disease in 2016.

Leah portrayed Zoe Tate on the show between 1989 and 2005.

Now, the popular ITV soap opera as well as Leah's former co-stars Claire King, Emma Atkins, and Peter Amory have remembered her with a heartfelt tribute.

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The Tate Family Tree special aired some of the biggest storylines, including Charity Dingle and Chris Tate's marriage when Zoe was in love with Charity.

Narrating over it, a voice said: "Following their marriage, a heartbroken Zoe plunged into depression, and was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia.

"And after 16 years of being involved with some of Emmerdale's most iconic storylines, the actress Leah Bracknell faced her own battle off screen.

"And sadly, in 2019 Leah lost her battle with cancer."

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Emma Atkins, 45, who portrayed Charity, said: "Leah Bracknell was an absolute joy to work with just because she was so professional, so kind, I loved her a lot."

"She was just the most pure, honest, beautiful person inside and out," said Claire King, 57, who played Zoe's stepmother Kim Tate.

Peter Amory, 55, who played Chris Tate, added: "I think working with Leah was fantastic, she was basically like a sister."

Fans were left fighting back tears as they watched the special as one person Tweeted: "So sad that Leah Bracknell passed away.. such a massive loss #Emmerdale #emmerdalefamilytrees," followed by a crying emoji.

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"Absolutely loved @Emmerdale Family Tree – the Tates were always outrageous! Very sweet tribute to Leah Bracknell Red heart #Emmerdale," another said.

While a third added: "Leah Bracknell a lovely lady sadly missed #Emmerdale #Emmerdalefamilytrees".

The tragic news of Leah's death was confirmed by her manager in a statement last year.

"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," the statement read.

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"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. 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."

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