Helen McCrory’s friends learned of her cancer diagnosis just days before her death, it has emerged.
The Peaky Blinders actress passed away at the age of 52 earlier this month, following a secret battle with cancer.
Helen’s husband Damian Lewis announced her death on social media in a heartbreaking statement on April 16.
Friends of the couple have since revealed they only learned of Helen’s diagnosis shortly before her passing.
Actor David Harewood, who starred in Homeland with Damian, received a text from his co-star “a couple of days” before Helen died.
Speaking to the Mirror, he said: “Damian got in touch a couple of days before the news broke, he let us all know. It was all very, very upsetting.”
“Nobody knew. None of us knew what she was battling. It was shocking and unbelievably sad.”
“Damian did such a tremendous job in publicly handling all that. My heart goes out to him and to their two young children,” he added.
Those who knew about Helen’s illness were “sworn to secrecy”, according to her friend Carrie Cracknell.
Speaking on BBC Radio Four today, the theatre director said: “Helen wanted to be very private about her illness. Very few people knew. We were sworn to secrecy.”
“She faced up to cancer with a level of bravery and humour that was extraordinary.”
Helen, best known for playing Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders, shared two children with Damian – daughter Manon, 14, and son Gulliver, 13.
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