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Emmerdale actor Steve Halliwell who played Zak Dingle dies aged 77

Emmerdale actor Steve Halliwell who played Zak Dingle dies aged 77

His family have issued a statement

Emmerdale actor Steve Halliwell, who played Zak Dingle in the Yorkshire soap, has died.

Halliwell, who spent 29 years on the show, passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones, ITV reported.

The statement read: "It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart that Emmerdale can confirm that Steve Halliwell, our beloved Zak Dingle, has peacefully passed away.

Emmerdale's Steve Halliwell passed away 'peacefully' in his sleep.

"All our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and loved ones through this very difficult time, and we’d request that their privacy is respected as they grieve for his loss.

"Steve will forever be synonymous with Emmerdale. The proud defender and head of the Dingle family. Heart and humour in all he did, it has been and always will be impossible not to smile when you think of him."

In a statement, his family added: "He went to sleep, peacefully with his loved ones around him. He was making us laugh to the end.

"The most amazing father and grandfather you could ever wish for, family was everything to him."

They paid tribute to staff at St James' Hospital in Leeds and Wheatfield Hospice 'for their love and kindness in his final days'.

"He didn't want sadness, just to rejoice in a life well lived," the statement added.

John Whiston, Managing Director of Continuing Drama and Head of ITV in the North, said: "Steve Halliwell was one of those rare human beings who was as wonderful off screen as on.

Halliwell spent 29 years on the soap.

"To millions of Emmerdale viewers he was the brawny but crafty Dingle patriarch who led the clan with a strong fist and a warm heart. To everyone who worked on Emmerdale he was a much loved friend and colleague, the undoubted father of the show, but also its fun mischievous uncle. We will miss him enormously."

Tributes have since poured in for the late actor with one X, formerly Twitter, user writing: "Grew up with him as a part of my almost daily viewing. What a wonderful actor and from the stories I have read, a wonderful man too. Thank you for the memories."

A second penned: "This is so sad to hear! Steve was a truly amazing actor and through all the years as head of the Dingle family made Emmerdale so worth watching. RIP Steve and my condolences to his family and TV family."

"So sad to hear," added a third. "Thoughts to his friends and family, he will be missed."

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence, contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.

Featured Image Credit: Pat Sullivan/Avalon/Getty Images/ITV

Topics: Celebrity, TV And Film, Emmerdale