Steve Halliwell, who is best known for his role on the British soap opera Emmerdale, has reportedly passed away at the age of 77.
In a statement provided to ITV, Halliwell’s family revealed he died on Friday, Dec. 15, while being surrounded by his loved ones. “He was making us laugh to the end,” his family shared. “The most amazing father and grandfather you could ever wish for, family was everything to him.”
Steve Halliwell’s family further thanked the staff at St. James Hospital and the Wheatfield Hospice. “He didn’t want sadness,” they continued. “Just to rejoice in a life well lived.”
John Whiston, the managing director of continuing drama and head of ITV in the north also spoke out about Halliwell’s death. “Steve Halliwell was one of those rare human beings who was as wonderful off-screen as on. To millions of Emmerdale viewers, he was the brawny but crafty Dingle patriarch who led the clan with a strong fist and a warm heart. To everyone who worked on Emmerdale, he was a much-loved friend and colleague, the undoubted father of the show, but also its fun mischievous uncle. We will miss him enormously.”
Halliwell played Zak Dingle in more than 2,300 episodes of Emmerdale over 29 years. He also appeared in other British shows, including Here I Stand, Heartbeat, and Coronation Street.
Steven Halliwell’s Cause of Death Wasn’t Revealed
Although his family did not reveal the cause of his passing, Halliwell previously stated that he had to take five months off from Emmerdale for health reasons. He later revealed it was due to having heart surgery and a pacemaker fitted.
According to the Mirror, Steve Halliwell once spoke about how he struggled with alcoholism and depression for more than 50 years. When he joined Emmerdale in 1994, he said his past relates to his character Zak.
“I can see a pattern to me leading to playing Zak,” Halliwell explained. “I went on a journey and it seemed to be my destiny to play this man who I understood. Everything the Dingles had been through, I had too – trouble with the police, fighting, being evicted. And if there were any aspects of Zak’s life I hadn’t lived, I knew people who had.”
Steve Halliwell also told the Mirror in 2014 that he was born to play Zak Dingle. “There’s depression, drinking, and having to fight your way out of situations. I’ve lived all those things – and more.”
Halliwell noted that Emmerdale had been supportive of him when he was recovering from his heart issues in 2018. “Emmerdale have been brilliant throughout and really looked after me.”