Caroline Aherne Bids The World A Sad Farewell At 52

Caroline Aherne, star of The Royle Family and The Mrs. Merton Show died at the age of 52.

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Two years ago, in an interview for the BBC, the actress said that she had been recovering from lung cancer treatment, but after a long battle, it looks like the disease got the better of her. Aherne’s publicist and close friend, Neil Reading, broke the news on Saturday: “Caroline Aherne has sadly passed away, after a brave battle with 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,” said Neil in an official statement. She spoke about her battle with cancer when she addressed an appeal for approving cancer care in Manchester, back in 2014. The comedian said that both she and her brother have had run-ins with cancer. “I’ve had cancer and my brother’s had cancer and we know how it affects people,” Aherne said.

“My mum told us that only special people get cancer. I must be very special because I’ve had it in my lungs and my bladder as well.” Her friends and co-stars paid a tribute to Aherne, with Sue Johnson, the actress who played her mother on The Royle Family, saying, “I am devastated at her passing and I am numb with grief.”

Ralf Little, the guy who played her younger brother on the show also took to social media to share his grief, saying, “[Aherne was] a sister, real and (for me) fake”, as well as a genius and a friend with a “big, big heart.” Arabella Weir, her co-star on The Fast Show called Aherne “an absolute genius” and added, “everything she said was funny.” She won a BAFTA award for Best Comedic Performance in a TV Show for her portrayal of Denise on The Royle Family.

She won BAFTA’s Best Situation Comedy award in 2007 for the 2006 special episode of The Royle Family “The Queen of Sheba.” She was recognized as one of the best British comedians working today, and while her troubled personal life and past struggle with alcoholism made her a British tabloid sensation, she has stayed away from the public eye for much of the last decade.

Her most notable credits include playing Mrs. Merton on The Mrs. Merton Show and recently providing the voice of Stephanie on the animated TV show, Strange Hill High. She has also written many episodes for The Royle Family, Dossa and Joe, as well as her own Mrs. Merton Show. Aherne also took part in Gogglebox, a British reality TV show where a bunch of opinionated viewers gave their brutally honest opinions about the best and worst of British TV. She will be sorely missed.