Steve Halliwell, best known for role as Emmerdale's Zak Dingle, passes away at 77

 December 16, 2023

Actor Steve Halliwell, best known for role as Emmerdale's Zak Dingle, passed away peacefully at the age of 77.

A statement from ITV read, "All our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and loved ones through this very difficult time, and we’d request that their privacy is respected as they grieve for his loss."

This was followed by a statement from Halliwell's family saying, "He went to sleep, peacefully with his loved ones around him. He was making us laugh to the end, the most amazing father and grandfather you could ever wish for, family was everything to him."

The family also highlighted St James Hospital and the Wheatfield Hospice who the family thanked for the "love and kindness" that they showed Halliwell.

Halliwell's passing marks the end of a "life well lived," in which he touched the lives of countless people both personally and through his onscreen exploits.

Rest in peace

Halliwell was a key piece of the Emmerdale soap opera and made his first appearance on the show in October 1994.

He would be a part of the show for the next 29 years and ITV drama executive John Whiston said that Halliwell was the "undoubted father of the show," who was "as wonderful off screen as on."

Halliwell appeared on Television starting in the 1970s and appeared in shows like Here I Stand, Heartbeat and Coronation Street.

However, it was Emmerdale that became his most significant and well known role that he would hold for nearly three decades.

Halliwell lived a far from perfect life as he explained in an interview with the Mirror in 2014 that "I was born to play Zak Dingle - the cap really does fit. Most of the storylines I've lived in real life. I've been broke, evicted, in trouble with the law. Then there's depression, drinking and having to fight your way out of situations. I've lived all those things and more. I can't blame anyone else. I pressed the self-destruct button."

That experience translated into a believable character and portrayal that will no doubt stick with many fans long after Halliwell's passing.

Tributes pour in

Halliwell's passing was immediately greeted with an outpouring or support and tributes from costars and industry workers alike.

John Whiston praised Halliwell saying, "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."

While some fans may be down from this news, Halliwell's family made it clear that "He didn't want sadness, just to rejoice in a life well-lived."

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