Actress and comedian Caroline Aherne dies aged 52

WONDERFUL TALENT: Fans and co-stars have been effusive in their tributes.

CAROLINA AHERNE, the much-loved star and writer of The Royle Family and The Mrs Merton Show, has died at her home in Manchester following a third fight against cancer.

Two years ago she revealed that she was suffering from lung cancer, having been born with a rare strain of retina cancer and later undergoing treatment for bladder cancer.

The announcement was made by her publicist Neil Redding, who said: “Caroline Aherne has sadly passed away after a brave battle against 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.”

The Mrs Merton Christmas show won the Bafta for best talk show in 1997, with The Royle Family, which was created following a suicide attempt by Aherne, picked up gongs for best sitcom in 2000 and 2007.

Her friends and co-stars have been paying tribute to her, with Sue Johnston, who played the mother of Aherne’s character Denise in The Royle Family, saying: I am devastated at her passing and I am numb with grief.”

Ralf Little, who starred as Denise’s brother Antony, said that Aherne was “a sister, real and (for me) fake”, a genius and a friend with a “big, big heart.”

Little Britain star David Walliams tweeted: “Absolutely devastating news about Caroline Aherne. A true comedy genius, her work was equally funny and touching.”

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