Helen McCrory’s friends learned about her cancer just days before her death

Helen McCrory dies aged 52 from cancer

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Helen McCrory sadly died at the age of 52 following a cancer diagnosis on April 16. The acclaimed actor kept her health battle a secret and it has now been revealed some friends were only told days before her death.

Her husband Damian Lewis was thought to have contacted his closest friends shortly before her passing.

His Homeland co-star and pal David Harewood revealed how he found out.

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.”

David and Damian became close when they were filming Homeland together.

The actor also paid tribute to Helen as “an incredible, wonderful woman”.

This comes after another of the Peaky Blinders actor’s close friends said they were sworn to secrecy over her diagnosis.

Speaking earlier this month on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme, Carrie Cracknell opened up about this.

She said: “Very few people knew, and I only did because we were planning to transfer a show to Broadway and had to cancel that because she was having treatment.

“We were sworn to secrecy. Helen wanted to be very private about her illness and I understand why.

“When you live in the public spotlight you have to find space to protect the things that are just for you.

“Her need to be fully alive and be committed and to take things incredibly seriously, such as her family and charity work, defined her last few years for her as much as ever.”

Helen’s death was confirmed by her husband, who issued a heartbreaking statement.

On April 16, he wrote on Twitter: “I’m heartbroken to announce that after a heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family.

“She died as she lived. Fearlessly.

“God we love her and know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives.

“She blazed so brightly. Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you.”

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