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Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly paid tribute to their former Byker Grove co-star Dale Meeks as it was announced the actor had died.
His death was confirmed by a family member on Facebook on April 23.
Taking to their joint Twitter account, Ant and Dec, both 47, shared their devastation at the news.
They penned: “We are so incredibly sorry to hear the very sad news of Dale’s passing.
“He was the loveliest of guys, even though he was a Denton ‘Burner’, the arch nemesis of the Byker ‘Grovers’! A sad loss at such a young age. RIP Dale. Sleep well bonny lad”.
Tributes have poured in for Dale, who most recently played Simon Meredith in ITV’s Emmerdale.
He previously played Greg, a gang leader of a rival youth club, on the CBBC show.
The presenters – who had played Peter ‘PJ’ Jenkins and Duncan Sperring on Byker Grove – weren’t alone in paying tribute to the actor.
Social media users reacted to the news as they offered their condolences.
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Stephen penned: “Truly heartbreaking. A wonderful human that will be so dearly missed.”
Emma commented: “So sad. He was a brilliant actor.”
Karen tweeted: “So saddened to hear the news about Dale, such a lovely man and great actor. Thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this sad time R.I.P love and light.”
Michelle added: “So sad I remember him from when he was working here in Jersey! Put on some fantastic shows.”
The Geordie actor was best known for his role as Simon Meredith in Emmerdale from 2003.
His character was in a tumultuous relationship with Nicola King (Nicola Wheeler) which eventually ended when Nicola tried to seduce Simon’s best friend.
He left the soap in 2006 when his character jetted to Costa Rica.
Dale also starred opposite Ant and Dec on the BBC drama Byker Grove.
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