Cillian Murphy says he was ‘in awe’ of his ‘closest’ Peaky Blinders co-star Helen McCrory

Helen McCrory dies aged 52 from cancer

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Cillian Murphy, 45, has said how in “awe” he was of how his late co-star, Helen McCrory, “lived her life” and was able to make any scene “special” on their hit show, Peaky Blinders. Last month it was announced on Twitter by her husband Damian Lewis, 50, that the Harry Potter actor had died after a secret “heroic battle” with cancer.

Paying tribute to Helen, Cillian, 45, who plays Tommy Shelby in the Birmingham-based BBC show, nephew to Helen’s Polly, said she was his “closest colleague”.

Opening up on their relationship, Cillian said: “Oh, man. She was my closest colleague on Peaky, and one of the finest actors I’ve ever worked opposite.

“Any material, any scene … she made it special.”

“I was kind of in awe about how she lived her life – the way she balanced her work and her family so beautifully.”

After Helen’s death was announced in April, Cillian led the stars in paying tribute to the legendary actress saying that he was “broken-hearted”.  

In a touching tribute, Cillian said at the time: “I am broken-hearted to lose such a dear friend. Helen was a beautiful, caring, funny, compassionate human being.

“She was also a gifted actor — fearless and magnificent. She elevated and made humane every scene, every character she played.

“It was a privilege to have worked with this brilliant woman, to have shared so many laughs over the years.

“I will dearly miss my pal. My love and thoughts are with Damian and her family.”

The showrunners of the programme also released a statement saying: “Helen’s performance as Polly Gray was inspirational, joyous, transgressive, hilarious and incredibly moving.

“As a person, she was off-the-scale charismatic, and deeply caring.

“We feel so privileged to have worked with her over the last decade.

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They added: “All our thoughts and love are with Damian and family.”

Cillian also revealed how upsetting it had been for the cast to shoot the final scenes of Peaky Blinders without Helen.

The BBC show has only just wrapped filming on series six.

The actor told Men’s Health: “We’re all still deeply, deeply saddened. I’m deeply saddened and still trying to get over it. It’s hard to think of the series without her.

“She was so much a part of that and always my favourite storylines were the Polly/Tommy storylines.”

The star also confirmed the entire final season of Peaky Blinders would be dedicated to Helen.  

Helen tragically died of cancer on April 16, aged 52, with her spouse breaking the news on Twitter.

Damian said he was “heartbroken”, and that she was a “beautiful and mighty woman”.

Damian typed: “She blazed so brightly. Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you.”

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