Entertainment & Arts

Mya-Lecia Naylor: CBBC star dies suddenly, aged 16

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Media captionTributes have been paid to Mya-Lecia Naylor who starred in Millie Inbetween

BBC children's TV star Mya-Lecia Naylor has died suddenly at the age of 16.

Mya-Lecia, who appeared in CBBC shows Millie Inbetween and Almost Never, died on 7 April after she collapsed, her agents A&J Management said.

CBBC said she was a "much-loved part of the BBC Children's family and a hugely talented actress, singer and dancer".

A&J Management said she was "hugely talented and a big part of A&J" and that they would "miss her greatly". It is not yet known how she died.

'She shone so brightly'

CBBC announced the news on its website, where young fans shared their memories of the actress.

Tributes have been paid to the teenager, who starred as Fran in two series of Millie Inbetween, about two sisters whose parents have split up, and Mya in Almost Never, about a fictional boyband and rival girl group Girls Here First.

She played the lead singer of the girl band, and said in a recent interview that she'd always wanted to sing as well as act. She also said she had some "amazing projects" coming up soon.

Image copyright BBC/The Foundation/Graham Hunter
Image caption Mya-Lecia, left, had been in the cast of Millie Inbetween from its first series

Alice Webb, director of BBC Children's, which includes CBBC, said news of Mya-Lecia's death had left her team "distraught and so terribly sad".

"She has shone so brightly on our screens, both in Millie Inbetween and Almost Never, and it's unthinkable that she won't be part of our journey going forward," she said, describing the hugely popular actress as "a real role model for her young fans".

Almost Never posted a tribute on its Instagram, saying their thoughts were with her family and friends.

Emily Atack, who starred with Mya-Lecia in Almost Never, said her co-star was a "beautiful and talented girl" who was "a complete joy to be around".

She said she was "so shocked and sad" to hear of her death.

And child actor Oakley Orchard, one member of The Wonderland in Almost Never, wrote in an Instagram story: "Rest in peace to my little pink wafer. Absolutely devastated, will miss all the fun times we had together.

'You were a miracle'

Matt Leys, writer for Millie Inbetween, said: "Goodbye our brilliant, funny, lovely Fran.

"You were a miracle. Watching the cast of Millie Inbetween grow with their characters, inform them, let us write it around them, has been an absolute joy. This is such awful, devastating news."

He added that the team was hurting, but "remembering all the brilliant things Mya-Lecia did".

Star of the show Millie Innes, shared a moving tribute to her late friend via Instagram.

"I will always cherish our relationship and the moments we spend together beautiful girl ❤️," she wrote, adding "I am devastated and heartbroken ❤️. "

Screenwriter Simon Underwood said she was "one of the best actors in recent CBBC shows", adding: "She was so good. I've got a notion of a new children's drama developing and one of three leads I'd keyed to her."

Almost Never creator Paul Rose, who had written Mya-Lecia's character into every episode of series two, described her death as "heartbreaking".

"Far too young, and a huge loss for all on the show. My heart goes out to her family," he said in a Twitter post.

Mya-Lecia's screen debut came as a toddler when she appeared in Absolutely Fabulous as Saffy's daughter Jane. She also had the title role in ITV series Tati's Hotel.

Her film roles included Miro in Cloud Atlas, alongside Halle Berry and Tom Hanks.

Game of Thrones star Nathalie Emmanuel, who is represented by the same management company, tweeted that she was "Very sad to hear the tragic news of Mya-Lecia Naylor's passing."

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