Dale Meek’s death prompted an outpouring of tributes when the sad news was announced by a family member on Facebook.
The post read, as reported by ChronicleLive: “So unbelievably sad. Brother in Law, mucca, side kick and just the BEST friend a lad could have wished for. RIP Dale Meeks. So much less to laugh about now you’re not there to share it with.
“Thanks everyone for all the beautiful messages and memories you have been sharing. The support of Dale’s friends has been so incredibly strong over these chaotic, heartbreaking final hours, I can only stand in awe.” (sic)
Hundreds of fans expressed their sadness, including Sharon who said it had been a “huge shock” and Helen echoed that she was “heartbroken”.
The Geordie actor was best known for his role as Simon Meredith in Emmerdale from 2003.
His character was in a tumultuous relationship with Nicola King (Nicola Wheeler) which eventually ended when Nicola tried to seduce Simon’s best friend.
He left the soap in 2006 when his character jetted to Costa Rica.
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Dale also starred opposite Ant and Dec on the BBC drama Byker Grove. He played the leader of a gang from rival youth club, Denton Burn, for five series.
The duo, who played PJ and Duncan on the programme, tweeted: “We are so incredibly sorry to hear the very sad news of Dale’s passing.
“He was the loveliest of guys, even though he was a Denton ‘Burner’, the arch nemesis of the Byker ‘Grovers’! A sad loss at such a young age. RIP Dale. Sleep well bonny lad.”
In 2005, Dale and his Emmerdale co-star Mark Charnock (Marlon Dingle) were crowned the winners of ITV’s Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes after performing as the Blues Brothers.
As well as TV, Dale also delighted fans on the stage with performances in Chicago and the West End production of Love Never Dies.
Dale most recently appeared in the three-part series,The Hunt for Raoul Moat, as Moat’s friend Rory Sutcliffe.
The true crime drama aired just last week.
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