HELEN McCrory kept her cancer diagnosis secret – and friends only found out days before she died.
The Peaky Blinders star died aged 52 after a "heroic" battle with cancer.
Her husband Damian Lewis broke the tragic news on April 16, saying she had died peacefully at home.
His Homeland co-star David Harewood has since revealed his shock about the Helen's hidden health battle.
The 55-year-old told The Mirror: "None of us knew what she was battling' before paying tribute to the late Peaky Blinders actress.
"Damian got in touch a couple of days before the news broke, he let us all know. It was all very, very upsetting.
"Nobody knew. None of us knew what she was battling.
"It was shocking and unbelievably sad. Damian did such a tremendous job in publicly handling all that."
The Hollywood actress, who has also starred in Skyfall and Harry Potter, only told few people about her diagnosis and continued with her charity work until a few weeks before her death.
She refused to let the illness overshadow her family and professional life, friends have since revealed.
Actor Damian said as he announced his wife's death: "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 died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we loved her and know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives. She blazed so brightly. Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you."
The couple have two children together – daughter Manon born in September 2006 and son Gulliver, who was born in November 2007.
They appeared on Good Morning Britain four weeks before she died to discuss their latest charity project with the Prince's Trust, where they are both ambassadors.
Caring Helen and Damian, who live in Suffolk, also helped feed frontline healthcare workers during the Covid pandemic.
They raised for more than £1million to help get hot meals delivered to hardworking staff with the help of powerhouses of the food industry.
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