Actress Kitty McGeever, who played the character of Lizzie Lakely in the ITV soap Emmerdale, has died, it was announced today.
A spokeswoman for the show said she had died last night, surrounded by her loving family.
She added: "Kitty was a great talent and a true inspiration to all who worked with her. The cast and crew are devastated at her passing and she will be missed tremendously and remembered fondly by all of us."
McGeever, who lost her sight at the age of 33 as the result of an illness, became the first blind actress on a UK soap when she joined Emmerdale in 2009.
She had trained at RADA and her previous television credits included Beautiful People and London's Burning. In addition to her acting career, she worked as a stand-up comedienne and was a regular performer on the comedy circuit.
Gemma Oaten, Rachel Breckle in the programme, tweeted: "So sad to hear the news our dear Kitty McGeever has died. Never forget the scenes we used to have with her infectious laughâ?¤ miss you xxx"
Chelsea Halfpenny, who plays Amy Wyatt, said: "So, so saddened by the loss of our lovely Kitty McGeever. I feel so lucky to have worked with such a wonderful, hard-working woman."
Coronation Street writer Jonathan Harvey said: "So sad to hear of the passing of Kitty McGeever. She appeared in my show Beautiful People - such fun to work with."
And he added: "Was so chuffed for her when she got the regular part in Emmerdale. Love and thoughts with her family and the Emmerdale gang x".