The actress played Zoe Tate in the soap for 16 years.
The 55-year-old actress turned yoga teacher died last month following being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2016.
“It is with the deepest sadness that Leah Bracknell’s family confirm that she 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. Leah continued to embrace life and faced her illness with positivity.” – Leah’s manager
Everyone on Emmerdale is very sad to hear of the death of Leah Bracknell
Bracknell first appeared in Emmerdale in 1989 with the arrival of the upper-class Tate family; who were introduced to lure in more affluent viewers to the show. Her family co-stars included Claire King as step-mum Kim, who recently returned to the rural saga after a 19 year absence, former Crossroads actor Norman Bowler as father Frank and Running Wild actor Peter Amory as brother Chris.
Zoe, the local vet, wooed Archie for a time before realising things weren’t right. Eventually she came out as a lesbian and went on to have a number of romances. The character also battled mental illness, fought her way out of being raped and during a spell of being far from herself became pregnant to village ‘lothario’ Scott Windsor.
“Everyone on Emmerdale is very sad to hear of the death of Leah Bracknell. Leah was a hugely popular member of the Emmerdale cast for over 16 years. During that time she featured in some of the show’s most high profile and explosive plots and always delivered a pitch perfect performance. Zoe Tate was one of soap’s first lesbian characters and Leah made sure the character was both exciting and credible. Leah herself was a very generous and caring colleague, much loved by cast and crew alike.” – John Whiston, MD Continuing Drama & Head of ITV in the North
She departed the ITV Yorkshire production in 2005 with the character leaving for New Zealand. Originally show bosses and the actress noted she was only taking nine months off to concentrate on her Yoga training, something she made a career out of after leaving the Leeds based show.
Some of her Emmerdale colleagues have taken to social media with tributes.
“Gorgeous, beautiful, talented, lovely Leah, fly high over that rainbow my love xx” – Emmerdale co-star Claire King (@claireking101)
“GOD BLESS YOU LEAH. A true angel to work with. You lost your battle far, far too young. R.I.P. Heaven gains an angel of the truest form.” – Lisa Riley, Emmerdale’s Mandy Dingle (@Reallisariley)
“I’m truly sad to hear that we have lost Leah Bracknell. She was one of the first actresses I ever worked with. Very talented and also just a very special woman. So sad. RIP Leah. X” – Emmerdale director Duncan Foster (@duncanfo)
Other roles include Jenny Carrington in ITV Yorkshire’s modern-day spin-off from 1960s medical saga The Royal in The Royal Today.