Damian Lewis pens emotional tribute to 'utterly heroic' wife Helen McCrory

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Tom Beasley
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Watch: Damian Lewis announces passing of wife Helen McCrory

Damian Lewis has written that he has "never known anyone able to enjoy life as much" as his wife Helen McCrory, who passed away this week aged 52 after a battle with cancer.

The Homeland star penned an emotional tribute to McCrory in The Sunday Times, in which he honoured her career and the respect those in the industry held for her.

Read more: McCrory admits she was unable to watch Peaky Blinders violence

"Already I miss her," he wrote, adding: "She has shone more brightly in the last months than you would imagine even the brightest star could shine."

He added: "Even when dying in her last few days, when talking to our wonderful carers, she repeatedly said, “thank you so much” in her half delirious state."

McCrory kept her diagnosis out of the public sphere, with friends "sworn to secrecy" about her health.

Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory arrive at a Bafta party on February 1, 2020. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory arrive at a Bafta party on February 1, 2020. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)

McCrory had a 30-year career on stage and screen, making her movie debut in 1994 with a small role in Interview With the Vampire.

She is best known in recent years for her work as Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise and as Aunt Polly in the BBC crime drama Peaky Blinders.

Last year, she appeared on TV screens in a pair of major roles — in BBC political thriller Roadkill and as a QC in the Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? drama Quiz.

Read more: Quiz finale chooses to ask the audience

Lewis compared McCrory to "royalty" and said the term was justified given "the esteem in which Helen is held in our business".

He added: "Her nickname to many was Dame Helen (apologies, Dame Helen), and although we’ll never know now whether that would have become a reality, I think secretly, we do know."

Helen McCrory portrayed Narcissa Malfoy in the 'Harry Potter' franchise. (Credit: Warner Bros)
Helen McCrory portrayed Narcissa Malfoy in the 'Harry Potter' franchise. (Credit: Warner Bros)

Lewis said McCrory had been "utterly heroic" in her final months, remaining "funny as hell" despite knowing she didn't have long to live.

He wrote: "Only a couple of weeks ago she said to us from her bed: 'I want Daddy to have girlfriends, lots of them. You must all love again. Love isn’t possessive, but you know, Damian, try at least to get though the funeral without snogging someone'."

Read more: Lewis has no regrets about not becoming James Bond

"I’ve never known anyone able to enjoy life as much," Lewis added. "Her ability to be in the present and enjoy the moment was inspirational."

Lewis and McCrory married in 2007 and have two children — daughter Manon, 14, and son Gulliver, 13.

Watch: Cillian Murphy among celeb tributes to Helen McCrory