Tributes have been paid to Helen McCrory, known for starring in Peaky Blinders and the James Bond film Skyfall, who has died aged 52.

In a statement confirming her death, her husband Damian Lewis wrote: "I'm heartbroken to announce that after a heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family."

He added: "She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we love her and know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives. She blazed so brightly. Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you."

McCrory was known for playing Shelby family matriarch Aunt Polly in the BBC gang drama Peaky Blinders. She also starred in ITV drama Quiz and a number of the Harry Potter films.

The actress also played Cherie Blair, wife of former prime minister Tony Blair, in both The Queen and The Special Relationship.

McCrory and Lewis married in 2007 and share a daughter Manon, born in 2006, and son Gulliver, born in 2007.

Cillian Murphy, who starred alongside Helen McCrory in Peaky Blinders, paid tribute to the late actress.

In a statement to the PA news agency, he said: "I am broken-hearted to lose such a dear friend.

"Helen was a beautiful, caring, funny, compassionate human being."

"She was also a gifted actor – fearless and magnificent. She elevated and made humane every scene, every character she played.

"It was a privilege to have worked with this brilliant woman, to have shared so many laughs over the years.

"I will dearly miss my pal. My love and thoughts are with Damian and her family."

Sam Neill, who also starred in Peaky Blinders, tweeted: "Goodbye. Devastated my friend #HelenMcCrory died today. That brilliant woman – the greatest of actors.

"I so loved our time on #PeakyBlinders. She was witty, kind, skilled. Riotously funny.. and so damn cool. So young. Heartbroken for Damien + her family."

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Actor Jim Howick, who worked with McCrory and her husband Damian Lewis on the 2015 comedy film Bill, tweeted: "This is so shocking and sad. Helen along with Damian were both terrific fun on Bill.

"She was so generous with her time and her performance. I urge everyone to listen to her Desert Island Disks [sic]. What a talent we have lost."

Actor and director Noel Clarke said: "RIP #HelenMcCrory you were the best and always lovely to me. It was a pleasure to work with you. Love ya. Blessings to Damian and the family."

Actress Michelle Collins tweeted: "I'm really shocked so so sad I had the pleasure of meeting her and briefly worked with her, she certainly was a Tour de force, clever, charming and fierce and a brilliant actor my heart goes out to Damian and her family, bloody cancer I hate you!!"

Actor Kevin McKidd, who starred opposite McCrory in the 2000 TV miniseries Anna Karenina, said: "I am utterly heartbroken to hear this.. Damian I'm sending you and the family all my love and warmth at this time.

"Helen, we love you. Your talent , humanity and passion for life will be remembered by me and everyone your life touched with deep gratitude. Rest In Peace dear one."

Comedian John Bishop said he was "shattered" to hear the heartbreaking news and said his "heart goes out to Damian and the family."

Television presenter Dermot O'Leary paid tribute to McCrory, saying: "Had the good fortune to meet and interview Helen McCrory a few times.

"A mighty talent, with always a hint of mischief. Really lovely company. Very sad news."

Actor Michael Sheen, who worked with Helen McCrory in ITV drama Quiz, paid tribute to the late actress.

"So funny, so passionate, so smart and one of the greatest actors of our time," he tweeted.

"From the first moment I met her when we were just kids it was obvious she was very special.

"It was an honour to work with her and know her. Much love to Damian and her family. Heartbreaking."

Irish actress Aisling Bea, who also starred with McCrory in the 2020 ITV drama Quiz, said: "Utterly heartbreaking, what a loss. Every actor looks & looked up to Helen McCrory – so brilliant and gripping and transformative and those who knew her as a friend really loved her.

"On Quiz last year & she was just so bloody cool, with funny anecdotes & stories and worrying about remembering all her lines.

"I could not believe that THE Helen McCrory was pacing up & down, worried about lines, she was so down to earth & openly vulnerable, all for the craft & being as good as possible.

"Then we watched her in the courtroom pretty much do a one-woman monologue and be incredibly excellent and not forget a thing. #RIPHelenMcCrory Thoughts go out to her family and friends."

Born in Paddington, London, to a Welsh mother and Scottish-born father, McCrory was the eldest of three children. She attended school in Hertfordshire, then spent a year living in Italy, before returning to London to study acting at the Drama Centre.

McCrory was made an OBE in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to drama.