Emmerdale Star Dale Meeks has died aged 47, his family has announced.
The actor played Simon Meredith on the ITV soap opera Emmerdale from 2003-2006. Mr Meeks also starred on the CBBC show Biker Grove and ITV True Crime Drama The hunt for Raoul moat, which aired just last week.
The 47-year-old’s death was announced by a family member in a post on Facebook. His cause of death was not disclosed.
The post read: “So incredibly sad. Brother in law, mucca, side kick and simply the BEST friend a boy could ask for. RIP Dale Meeks. So much less to laugh now that you can’t share it anymore.
“Thank you everyone for all the beautiful messages and memories you have shared. The support from Dale’s friends has been so incredibly strong during these chaotic, heartbreaking final hours that I can only stand in awe.”
Tributes have been poured in for the actor, including from Ant and Dec, who co-starred in the lead roles Biker Grove next to Mr Meeks.
The duo tweeted: “We are so incredibly sorry to hear the very sad news of Dale’s passing. He was the loveliest of guys, despite being a Denton ‘Burner’, the Byker ‘Grover’s’ nemesis! A sad loss at such a young age. R.I.P. Dale. Sleep well my boy.”
Fellow actor Stephen Sullivan said: “Dale Meeks was an inspiration to me when I was younger to see the band, to see him perform on stage, to see him on TV and to work with him. He was such a talent. He had so much more to give. He was loved and respected more than he knew. The last time I worked with him was an absolute pleasure.”
He added: “It hasn’t sunk yet and today it was a bit blurry. Dale you will be missed dearly, you had a heart as big as your talent and a sense of humor and laughter greater than either!”
Fans also paid tribute to Mr Meeks. One fan wrote: “It hasn’t sunk yet and today it was a bit blurry. Dale you will be missed dearly, you had a heart as big as your talent and a sense of humor and laughter greater than either!”
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Another said: “Sad to hear of the passing of Dale Meeks Emmerdale And Biker Grove star … sends his condolences to his family and friends RIP Dale Meeks.
A friend of Mr Meeks wrote: ‘A wonderful human being who was always there to support. Proud to have known you and worked with you.”
Meeks began his acting career by starring in biker grove, Most recently, he played Moat’s friend Rory Sutcliffe in a three-part series The hunt for Raoul Moat.
The 47-year-old also performed Accident and drama series Inspector George Soft. He played a constable in the Tracey Beaker spin-off The garbage place.
Outside of television, Mr. Meeks was part of the cast of the musical Chicago and had a role in Andrew Lloyd Webbers love never dies
Meeks recently tweeted about his role in The hunt for Raoul Moat. “Unfortunately, I’m watching tonight’s episode from this equally mysterious and sinister place. It’s amazing to feel love. thanks gang Keep it up xxx,” he said in a Twitter post on Monday.