Entertainment & Arts

Emmerdale: Tributes paid to child actor Harry Whittaker

Harry Whittaker Image copyright Grab
Image caption A tribute to the child actor was screened at the end of Thursday's episode

Three-year-old Harry Whittaker, who played Leo Dingle on soap opera Emmerdale, has died, ITV has confirmed.

The broadcaster said he died on 1 July, although the cause of death has not yet been announced.

The actor was honoured at the end of Thursday's episode with a message which read: "For Harry, with love".

Mark Charnock, who played Leo's on-screen father Marlon Dingle, called Harry "our superhero", adding he "lit up our lives."

"We were lucky to know you and hear you laugh," he tweeted.

Charnock later thanked fans for their messages of condolence: "We'll all pass on your overwhelming response to Harry's amazing family. Thank you for all your kind words."

Harry, who had Down's syndrome, first appeared on the soap in May 2011, after a storyline in which his on-screen parents, Marlon and Rhona Goskirk, had to decide whether or not to keep a child diagnosed with the condition.

He was one of two child actors to play the character, alongside Theo Tasker.

An Emmerdale spokesperson said: "Very sadly we can confirm Harry Whittaker's passing last Tuesday, 1 July.

"We will all miss him greatly and have offered our sincerest condolences to his family at this very sad time."

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