TV presenting duo Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have led tributes to Byker Grove co-star Dale Meeks following his death aged 48.
The actor played Simon Meredith on ITV soap Emmerdale between 2003 and 2006 after starring in BBC drama Byker Grove as a leader of Denton Burn, the rival youth group to the Byker Grove youth club.
Meeks died from “heart failure” on Saturday evening at South Tyneside hospital in Newcastle, his brother Philip Meeks told PA.
Philip, 55, said his brother was due to turn 49 on the day of the King’s coronation, adding: “My heart is broken.”
McPartlin and Donnelly, who played PJ and Duncan in Byker Grove, led tributes on Sunday.
“We are so incredibly sorry to hear the very sad news of Dale’s passing,” they said in a statement on Twitter.
“He was the loveliest of guys, even though he was a Denton ‘Burner’, the arch nemesis of the Byker ‘Grovers’!
“A sad loss at such a young age. RIP Dale. Sleep well bonny lad.”
Responding to the tweet, Philip told PA: “That’s absolutely lovely.
“I sort of remember meeting them as kids myself. He (Dale) was in Byker Grove, he made one of them blind, not in real life.”
Meeks last appeared in a cameo role on ITV’s The Hunt For Raoul Moat.