Tributes are pouring in for actress and writer Caroline Aherne, frequently hailed as a true genius of comedy, who passed away following a battle with cancer at only 52 years old.
Neil Reading, her publicist, said today: “Caroline Aherne has sadly passed away, after a brave battle with cancer. The Bafta award-winning writer and comedy actor died earlier today at her home in Timperley, Greater Manchester. She was 52. The family ask for privacy at this very sad time.” She was born to Irish parents in London.
Aherne had struggled with various health problems throughout her life including lung cancer and had largely retired from public life.
The beloved star was best known for her work in The Royle Family (she wrote and starred in the series), The Mrs Merton Show, The Fast Show and more recently as the narrator of Gogglebox.
The multi-award-winning Royle Family, which ran for three series and featured in several specials, told the story of a dysfunctional family. Aherne wrote it with co-star Craig Cash, drawing on her own childhood experiences and the people she met growing up.
Aherne’s co-stars and fellow comics have been paying tribute to her on social media.
Sue Johnston, who played Barbara – the mother of Aherne’s character Denise – in The Royle Family, said: “I am devastated at her passing and I am numb with grief.”
Ralf Little, Denise’s brother Antony in the show, said Aherne was “a sister, real and (for me) fake”, as well as a genius and a friend with a “big, big heart.”
A character. A legend. A boss. A sister, real and (for me) fake. A boss. A writer. An actor. A genius. A friend. Big, big heart. Goodbye. X
— Ralf Little (@RalfLittle) July 2, 2016
Absolutely devastating news about Caroline Aherne. A true comedy genius, her work was equally funny & touching. https://t.co/JwSULy25f7
— David Walliams (@davidwalliams) July 2, 2016
The talent, you all knew about. But she was a really lovely woman. Vulnerable and complex and damaged but…lovely. #CarolineAherneRIP
— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) July 2, 2016
Caroline Aherne one of the magical ones
— Zoe Ball (@ZoeTheBall) July 2, 2016
Goodbye great Caroline Aherne. A gift & language that lives on.
“A vegetarian? That’s a shame. Could she have some wafer-thin ham, Barbara?”
— Danny Baker (@prodnose) July 2, 2016
Caroline Aherne. That’s very sad.
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) July 2, 2016
And now, we leave you with what is one of her finest performances, in The Royle Family’s ‘Queen of Sheba.’
Rest in peace, Caroline Aherne.
And some of the brilliant outtakes: