Cillian Murphy adds tribute to Peaky Blinders co-star Helen McCrory

·2-min read

Peaky Blinders actor Cillian Murphy has paid emotional tribute to his TV aunt, Helen McCrory following Friday's shocking announcement of the British star's death.

McCrory's husband, Homeland's Damian Lewis, stunned with a tragic tweet announcing his wife's passing, aged only 52, following a private and "heroic battle" with cancer, and Cillian is among scores of big names devastated by the news.

"I am broken-hearted to lose such a dear friend," the Irishman wrote. "Helen was a beautiful, caring, funny, compassionate human being.

She was also a gifted actor - fearless and magnificent. She elevated and made humane every scene, every character she played.

"It was a privilege to have worked with this brilliant woman, to have shared so many laughs over the years. I will dearly miss my pal. My love and thoughts are with Damian and her family."

Rocketman star Taron Egerton shared the stage with Helen for his "first job" in a play called Last of the Haussmanns at London's National Theatre.

"I played a teenage boy who was besotted with her," he penned on Twitter. "It wasn't difficult; she was kind, funny, awe-inspiringly talented and was full of so much life.

"I bumped into her and Damian many times over the past ten or so years and she was always the same; full of warmth, cheekiness and fun.

"I will always remember the scenes we shared in that play. She helped make me a better actor. She was amazing. Condolences to her family."

Skyfall director Sam Mendes cited his star's "astonishing talent", calling her "a fabulous person, and an absolute true original. The film and theatre world has lost a one of a kind actress, and her family and friends have been robbed of an extraordinary, indomitable spirit. The world will be an infinitely poorer place without Helen in it.”

Dame Helen Mirren, meanwhile, added: "A great actress and a great person. this is so very very sad."

Comedian Matt Lucas, meanwhile, was among many who mentioned Helen's tireless work for charitable causes including the U.K.'s National Health Service, for which she and Lewis fundraised to help supply meals for stretched hospital workers at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Helen McCrory will be remembered not just for her remarkable stage and screen performances, but also for her selflessness and generosity," Matt said. "She and Damian were the motor driving FeedNHS, working tirelessly during the pandemic to raise millions for others. What a tremendous loss."

McCrory and Damian shared two children, 14-year-old daughter Manon and son Gulliver, 13. The couple married in 2007.