BRAVE Helen McCrory hid her secret cancer battle during her Good Morning Britain appearance just four weeks before her death.

The hugely respected actress's death was announced yesterday in a statement issued by her husband Damian Lewis.

Last month the 52-year-old made her final television appearance, sitting beside Damian as they discussed the Prince's Trust Awards on the ITV morning show.

Only those closest to Helen had any idea what she was going through, and at one point presenter Kate Garraway asked her: "Are you alright Helen? You sound a bit croaky, have you got a sore throat?"

The actress jokingly replied: "No, I’ve got children! Thank you for asking."

"You've been shouting at them!" Kate replied.

Soon after, Damian took over and spoke on behalf of the pair.

The actress's devoted husband gazed lovingly at his wife throughout the interview.

Damian, 50, had joined her on live television as she urged young people to use the charity's resources.

And one moment stood out from the interview – when Damian turned to lovingly look at Helen.

As the Peaky Blinders star talked to hosts Kate and Ben Shephard, Damian took a few deep breaths and calmly watched his wife speak.

Helen was most famous for playing Narcissa Malfoy in Harry Potter, Cherie Blair in The Queen, and formidable matriarch Aunt Polly in Peaky Blinders.

Devastated Damian said that his wife had passed away peacefully surrounded by her family.

The Homeland star shared on Twitter: "I'm heartbroken to announce that after an 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.

"She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we loved 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."

The star was born in Paddington in 1968 and spent a year living in Italy before returning to study acting at the Drama Centre in London.

She began her career in theatre where she was praised for her roles in Trelawny of the 'Wells' and Uncle Vanya.

Helen then appeared in a string of films – including Interview with the Vampire in 1994 and The Queen in 2006 where she played Cherie Blair.

She and Damian enjoyed an 18-year romance after meeting when they performed in a production of Five Gold Rings together at London's Almeida Theatre in 2003.

In 2007, she tied the knot with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood star Damian at Kensington and Chelsea Registry Office.

Since then, the pair were absolutely besotted with one another – and their relationship was famed for its fierce devotion within the showbiz world.

The much-loved actress leaves behind their two children, 14-year-old daughter Manon, and 13-year-old son Gulliver.

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