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Cillian Murphy pays tribute to Peaky Blinders star Benjamin Zephaniah who died

Cillian Murphy pays tribute to Peaky Blinders star Benjamin Zephaniah who died

The star of the BBC show called Zephaniah 'truly gifted' and a 'beautiful human being'.

Cillian Murphy has paid tribute to Peaky Blinders star Benjamin Zephaniah, who sadly died this week.

The actor and poet had only been diagnosed with a brain tumour eight weeks ago.

His family said he passed in the early hours of December 7.

Zephaniah – who has produced music, appeared in radio and TV, and was a bestselling YA novelist – played Jimmy Jesus in the BBC drama centred in Birmingham.

Mike Marsland/WireImage

Murphy, who was the lead star of the show, said in a statement obtained by Deadline: "Benjamin was a truly gifted and beautiful human being – a generational poet, writer, musician and activist.

"A proud Brummie and a Peaky Blinder. I’m so saddened by this news. RIP.”

Those words were supported by the official Peaky Blinders Instagram page, which said: “We are so shocked and devastated at the news of the death of our friend Benjamin Zephaniah.

“He was much a much-loved, instrumental and influential part of the Peaky Blinders family from the very start, as well to the creative community at large.”

Benjamin's family broke the heartbreaking news to the world and said he was beloved in his family.

A statement posted on his social media channels read: "It is with great sadness and regret that we announce the death of our beloved husband, son and brother in the early hours of this morning the 7th December 2023.

"Benjamin was diagnosed with a brain tumour 8 weeks ago.


"Benjamin’s wife was by his side throughout and was with him when he passed.

"We shared him with the world and we know many will be shocked and saddened by this news.

"Benjamin was a true pioneer and innovator, he gave the world so much.

"Through an amazing career including a huge body of poems, literature, music, television and radio, Benjamin leaves us with a joyful and fantastic legacy.

"Thank you for the love you have shown Professor Benjamin Zephaniah."

Benjamin famously turned down the offer of an OBE back in 2003.

He was up for the honour for his services to literature, however he proudly stated that he was 'anti-empire'.

The poet explained to The Guardian: “Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought.

"I get angry when I hear that word ‘empire’; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised."

Featured Image Credit: BBC. David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

Topics: Peaky Blinders, Cillian Murphy, Celebrity