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Emmerdale star Steve Halliwell who played legendary Zak Dingle has died aged 77

Emmerdale star Steve Halliwell who played legendary Zak Dingle has died aged 77

The actor starred as Zak Dingle for 29 years

Emmerdale star Steve Halliwell has died at the age of 77.

The actor, who memorably played Zak Dingle in the ITV show, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones.

In a statement, his family said: "He was making us laugh to the end.

"The most amazing father and grandfather you could ever wish for, family was everything to him.

"He didn't want sadness, just to rejoice in a life well lived."

Halliwell's relatives also praised staff at both St James's Hospital in Leeds and Wheatfield Hospice 'for their love and kindness in his final days'.

The Emmerdale legend first appeared on our screens back in 1994 and played the patriarch of the Dingle family for nearly three decades.

The actor has died at the age of 77.
Pat Sullivan/Avalon/Getty Images

He trained at the Mountview Theatre School after swapping his career in the cotton and paper mills for acting, which also saw him bag roles in Cracker, Heartbeat and Coronation Street.

Halliwell's best known role was obviously in the Dales though and he was dubbed the 'undoubted father of the show'.

The show shared a poignant statement paying tribute to the Bury-born actor.

It read: "It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart that Emmerdale can confirm that Steve Halliwell, our beloved Zak Dingle, has peacefully passed away.

"All our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and loved ones through this very difficult time, and we’d request that their privacy is respected as they grieve for his loss.


"Steve will forever be synonymous with Emmerdale. The proud defender and head of the Dingle family. Heart and humour in all he did, it has been and always will be impossible not to smile when you think of him."

Halliwell took a brief hiatus from his iconic role in 2003 for personal reasons and later revealed he had spent time at an alcohol rehabilitation centre.

He also took a short break from Emmerdale in September 2018 to undergo heart surgery and have a pacemaker fitted.

John Whiston, managing director of continuing drama and head of ITV in the north, said: "Steve Halliwell was one of those rare human beings who was as wonderful off screen as on.

"To millions of Emmerdale viewers he was the brawny but crafty Dingle patriarch who led the clan with a strong fist and a warm heart. To everyone who worked on Emmerdale he was a much loved friend and colleague, the undoubted father of the show, but also its fun mischievous uncle. We will miss him enormously."

Featured Image Credit: ITV/Ian GavanPat Sullivan/Avalon/Getty Images

Topics: Celebrity, ITV, TV and Film