Peaky Blinders and James Bond star Helen McCrory has died unexpectedly at the age of 52.

The British actress who played Clair Dowar in the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall and portrayed Aunt Polly in BBC hit Peaky Blinders, died suddenly, her husband has announced.

In a statement on social media, her husband Damian Lewis said: "I'm heartbroken to announce that after a heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully as home, surrounded bya. wave of love from friends and family."

He added: "She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we love 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."

Fellow actor Damian, star of Homeland, shared two children with his wife, daughter Manon, aged 14 and son Gulliver, aged 13.

The pair have been married since 2007.

Among other charity work, the couple raised more than £1million for Feed NHS at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Helen was awarded an OBE in the 2017 honours list for services to drama.