Emmerdale's Steve Halliwell dies aged 77

BREAKING NEWS Emmerdale’s Steve Halliwell dies aged 77: Actor who played loveable Zak Dingle for 29 years passes away surrounded by family

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

The soap star best known for playing Zak Dingle, peacefully passed away in a hospice surrounded by his family, ITV revealed in a statement. 

Steve was the second longest serving cast members in the hit ITV soap after joining Emmerdale in 1994. 

Steve’s family said in a statement: ‘He went to sleep, peacefully with his loved ones around him. 

‘He was making us laugh to the end, the most amazing father and grandfather you could ever wish for, family was everything to him. 

‘We would like to thank the wonderful staff at St James Hospital and the Wheatfield Hospice for their love and kindness in his final days. He didn’t want sadness, just to rejoice in a life well lived.’ 

Emmerdale’s Steve Halliwell dies aged 77: Soap star who played loveable Zak Dingle passes away surrounded by family

Steve (right) is pictured with Danny Miller, who played Aaron Dingle on the soap

ITV added: ‘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.

John Whiston Managing Director of Continuing Drama & 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.’

Steve played the head of the Dingle household on Emmerdale and was involved in several explosive storylines alongside his on-off wife Lisa Dingle. 

In 2018, the star was forced to take five months off work to have a pacemaker fitted after being rushed to hospital for a serious heart operation.

Before landing a role on the soap, Steve battled with alcoholism and depression and previously revealed how he related to his character.

Steve told the TV Times: ‘I can see a pattern to me leading to playing Zak. I went on a journey and it seemed to be my destiny to play this man who I understood.

‘Everything the Dingles had been through, I had too – trouble with the police, fighting, being evicted. And if there were any aspects of Zak’s life I hadn’t lived, I knew people who had.’

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