The couple, who married in 2007, had a daughter Manon, born in 2006, and son Gulliver, born in 2007.

In a message posted on social media, Lewis said she had been “surrounded by a wave of love” and died peacefully at home.

He said: “I’m heartbroken to announce that after an heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family.”

She also starred in ITV drama Quiz and a number of the Harry Potter films as well as the Bond film Skyfall. The actress also played Cherie Blair, wife of former prime minister Tony Blair, in both The Queen and The Special Relationship.

She was a constant supporter of the London theatre scene and just this year lent her support to the Evening Standard’s Future Theatre Fund.

Among the tributes being paid was one from the Almeida Theatre – the Islington venue where she performed several times.

Also paying tribute was actor Reece Shearsmith who said she was “immaculate and brilliant” and her death was “an unfathomable loss”.

Piers Wenger, BBC director of drama, paid tribute to McCrory, saying: “Helen was one of the finest actresses this country will ever see. From Potter to Peaky, from Blair to Bond, Helen’s fearlessness made every part she played unique and unmissable.

“Her body of work speaks of her extraordinary talent, what it doesn’t speak of is her kindness, intelligence and sense of fun. This is too soon, too cruel. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this incredibly sad time.”

Also paying tribute was London mayor Sadiq Khan who praised her “unparalleled talent” and charity work.

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