Helen McCrory, Wife of Damian Lewis, Kept Cancer Battle Private Until Days Before Her Death

by Matthew Wilson
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Actor Helen McCrory’s death shocked the entertainment community. But her passing also came as a surprise to her closest friends. McCrory was a private person and kept her cancer diagnosis to just her immediate family until days prior to her death.

Recently, some of McCrory’s friends and co-stars opened up about the actor and her personal battle with cancer. McCrory passed away on April 16 from complications related to the disease. Actor David Harewood was a friend and worked with McCrory’s husband Damian Lewis on “Homeland.” He learned of her cancer battle only days prior to her death.

“Damian got in touch a couple of days before the news broke, he let us all know,” Harewood told the Daily Mail. “It was all very, very upsetting. Nobody knew. None of us knew what she was battling. It was shocking and unbelievably sad. Damian did such a tremendous job in publicly handling all that.”

Before her death, McCrory confided in a few close friends including Carrie Cracknell about her illness. But she made them promise not to tell anyone about her battle with cancer. Similar to the late Chadwick Boseman, McCrory didn’t want her diagnosis to become a public spectacle. Instead, she faced the illness with the same poise and grace that defined her career and life.

“Helen wanted to be very private about her illness. Very few people knew. We were sworn to secrecy,” Cracknell said. “She faced up to cancer with a level of bravery and humour that was extraordinary.”

McCrory was best known for her roles on “Peaky Blinders,” “Harry Potter,” “Doctor Who,” and “Penny Dreadful.”

Helen McCrory Passed Away

McCrory’s husband Damian Lewis confirmed the actor’s death on April 16th. According to Lewis, McCrory passed away peacefully surrounded at home by her friends and family.

On Twitter, he 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. 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.”

McCrory and Lewis first met in 2003 in the play Five Gold Rings at the off-West End Almeida Theatre. They quickly fell in love during production. The two married in 2007 and shared two children together Manon, 14, and Gulliver, 13.

“She has been utterly heroic in her illness. Funny, of course — generous, brave, uncomplaining, constantly reminding us all of how lucky we’ve been, how blessed we are,” Lewis later wrote. “Her generosity has extended to encouraging us three to live. Live fully, take opportunities, have adventures.”

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