Friends of Helen McCrory only knew about her cancer diagnosis days before she passed away

The actress died two weeks ago

Helen McCrory
(Image credit: Target Presse Agentur Gmbh/Getty Images)

It was a shock to us all when Damian Lewis shared the news that his wife Helen McCrory had passed away from cancer at the age of just 52.

But apparently, it was a shock to their friends too, with fellow actor David Harewood, who had worked with Damian and was a friend of the couple, revealing he was only told about Helen's diagnosis two days before she passed away.

 The actor told the Daily Mirror that it was all 'very upsetting, shocking and sad.'

david harewood

David Harewood

(Image credit: Joe Scarnici/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

Damian's Homeland co-star David praised the actor and now widow on how he handled her death in the media but said he was unaware of the actress's diagnosis.

He told the Daily Mirror: "Damian got in touch a couple of days before the news broke, he let us all know. It was all very, very upsetting.

“It was shocking and unbelievably sad. Damian did such a tremendous job in publicly handling all that. My heart goes out to him and to their two young children."

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On April 16th Damian released a statement on Twitter, sharing the news of his wife's death - he said: "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 wrote in a statement on Twitter.

"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 probably best known for her role as the Shelby family matriarch Polly Gray in the BBC drama Peaky Blinders, as well as Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter movie franchise. She also had roles in the James Bond film Skyfall and The Queen, in which she played Cherie Blair. Damian married Helen in 2007 and they had two children together.

Sarah Finley

Sarah is a freelance journalist - writing about the royals and celebrities for Woman & Home, fitness and beauty for the Evening Standard and how the world of work has changed due to the pandemic for the BBC. 


She also covers a variety of other subjects and loves interviewing leaders and innovators in the beauty, travel and wellness worlds for numerous UK and overseas publications. 


As a journalist, she has written thousands of profile pieces - interviewing CEOs, real-life case studies and celebrities - interviewing everyone from Emma Bunton to the founder of Headspace.