Tuesday 6 December 2016

Royle Family actress Caroline Aherne loses battle with cancer at the age of 52

Geraldine Gittens

Published 02/07/2016 | 15:41

Royle Family creator Caroline Aherne
Royle Family creator Caroline Aherne
File photo dated 14/05/2000: Actress Caroline Aherne with her BAFTA award for best comedy performance for The Royle Family. Photo: Rebecca Naden/PA Wire
File photo dated 18/02/99: Actress Caroline Aherne who has died at the age of 52 after a battle with cancer, her publicist has said. Photo: Matthew Fearn/PA Wire
File photo dated 31/05/2000: Caroline Aherne (centre) with the cast of The Royle Family (left to right) Craig Cash, Ricky Tomlinson, Sue Johnston and Ralph Little at the premiere of the film Maybe Baby. Photo: Peter Jordan/PA Wire
File photo dated 25/01/01 of actress Caroline Aherne attending the South Bank Awards, as she has died at the age of 52 after a battle with cancer, her publicist has said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday July 2, 2016. See PA story DEATH Aherne. Photo credit should read: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire
File photo dated 25/01/01: Caroline Aherne (centre) with fellow stars of The Royle Family Liz Smith (left) and Sue Johnston after they won the Comedy Award at the South Bank Awards, as Aherne has died at the age of 52 after a battle with cancer, her publicist has said. Photo: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire
Award winning TV writer and comedian Caroline Aherne revealed she was fighting lung cancer in 2014
Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash, who starred as mother and son in the comedy series Mrs Merton and Malcolm, at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards in 1999. Photo: Peter Jordan/PA Wire
Caroline Aherne at a party to launch the FilmFour channel in 1998. Photo: Ben Curtis/PA Wire
Caroline Aherne and her mother Maureen arriving at the BAFTA Television Awards in 1999. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
File photo dated 21/09/1999 of Caroline Aherne at the Elle Style Awards. Photo: Michael Crabtree/PA Wire
File photo dated 03/04/1998 of Caroline Aherne starring in an advert for PG Tips. Photo: PA Photos/PA Wire
File photo dated 27/01/2000: Caroline Aherne with fellow comedian Steve Coogan at the South Bank Show award. Photo: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire
File photo dated 15/05/1999: Eastenders actress Carol Harrison (left) with Sue Johnston (centre) and Caroline Aherne at the Whats On TV/Carlton party following the British Soap Awards. Photo: Michael Walter/PA Wire
File photo dated 29/04/1997: Caroline Aherne with her BAFTA award for Best Talk Show for the Mrs Merton Christmas Show. Photo: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire

Actress Caroline Aherne has died at the age of 52 after a battle with cancer, her publicist has said.

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The star was best known for her work in The Royle Family, The Mrs Merton Show and The Fast Show.

Neil Reading, her publicist, said today: "Caroline Aherne has sadly passed away, after a brave battle with cancer.

"The Bafta award-winning writer and comedy actor died earlier today at her home in Timperley, Greater Manchester. She was 52.

"The family ask for privacy at this very sad time."

Aherne was born in London, but her parents are from Ireland.

Aherne, who was a smoker, had struggled with health problems for years.

She also fought depression and drink problems and spent time in the Priory Clinic following a suicide attempt, before moving to Australia to avoid the glare of publicity.

Read More: 'Thanks for the laughs' - Tributes to comedy icon Caroline Aherne who has died aged 52

Her battle with lung cancer came to light after she agreed to take part in an appeal in her home city of Manchester that was asking patients and carers to help improve standards of care. In pledging her support, she said: "I've had cancer and my brother's had cancer and we know how it affects people."

Aherne had largely withdrawn from the public eye, but she recently took part as one of the cast of an animated children's series for the BBC. She played a range of characters in CBBC's 'Strange Hill High', along with her former co-star from 'The Fast Show' John Thomson.

The star was once married to former New Order guitarist Peter Hook, and she then began a romance with TV researcher Matt Bowers. They split but she was devastated when he died of cancer at the age of 28.

As a child, Aherne was diagnosed with a rare cancer of the retina, like her older brother Patrick before her, and her local Catholic church raised funds to send her to Lourdes in search of a miracle cure.

She was left with severely impaired sight in one eye.

In 1996 she was voted best female performer at the British Comedy Awards.

She created The Royle Family with her friend Craig Cash, who played her husband Dave Best in the show, after a suicide attempt, which she described as her darkest time.

The show scooped four trophies at the 1999 British Comedy Awards, including best actress for Aherne.

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