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Caroline Aherne, British Actress and Writer, Dies at 52

The comedian starred in and created shows such as “The Royle Family” and “The Mrs Merton Show”

British comedic writer and actress Caroline Aherne died at the age of 52.

The creator of such shows as “The Royle Family” and “The Mrs Merton Show” suffered from lung cancer, and had previously been diagnosed with eye cancer and bladder cancer.

“Caroline Aherne has sadly passed away, after a brave battle with cancer,” the actress’ publicist Neil Reading told BBC. “The BAFTA award-winning writer and comedy actor died earlier today at her home in Timperley, Greater Manchester. She was 52. The family ask for privacy at this very sad time.”

Aherne previously spoke out for cancer awareness, saying both she and her brother were born with cancer in their retinas.

Aherne created the character Mrs. Merton for mock talk show “The Mrs. Merton Show” in 1994. The show, something of a precursor to the likes of Martin Short‘s Jiminy Glick and Zach Galifianakis‘ “Between Two Ferns,” the show featured real celebrities subjecting themselves to inappropriate questioning from the fake talk show host.

In 1998, Aherne co-created, with Craig Cash, her most enduring and popular sitcom, “The Royle Family,” about a low-income family living in Manchester. She starred as the family daughter Denise. The show ran for 3 seasons, from 1998-2000, and in 2000 the show won the BAFTA award for Best Sitcom, and Aherne won the award for Best Comedy Performance. The show won Best Comedy again for a one-off special in 2007.

After her death, former ITV chairman Lord Grade said, “We have lost a most original talent. ‘The Royle Family’ will live in the mind with the greatest situation comedies.”