Kitty McGeever, the first blind British soap actress, passes away after a tragic past

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Emmerdale stars are in mourning after the soap’s Kitty McGeever sadly passed away aged just 44.

The actress, who played Lizzie Lakely in the show from 2009 to 2013, died on Sunday night surrounded by family and close friends.

Kitty was the first ever blind person to have a starring role in a British soap and was popular with viewers and cast members alike.

An Emmerdale spokeswoman has said: ‘Kitty was a great talent and a true inspiration to all who worked with her.

‘The cast and crew are devastated at her passing and she will be missed tremendously and remembered fondly by all of us.’

Kitty was forced to quit the show in 2013 due to health problems but is clearly still fondly remembered by her castmates, many of whom have shared their tributes to the late actress on Twitter.

Gemma Oaten, who plays Rachel Breckle, posted a heart-warming message:

Natalie Anderson, better known to viewers as Alicia Metcalfe, wrote:

Meanwhile Rik Makarem, who used to play Nikhil Sharma, seemed to have been deeply affected by Kitty’s loss.

Kitty was certainly an inspirational figure. The actress – who lost her sight at the age of 33 – was known for her optimistic outlook and had previously spoken of the tragedies that had spurred her on in life.

In an interview in 2009 Kitty revealed how her son Felix had died when he was just 15 months old after a long illness and the stress of it all took its toll on her own health too, leading to her losing her sight and her kidneys not working.

‘I was blind, grieving and my kidneys were failing,’ she said about the difficult period following Felix’s passing in 2003. ‘I sat on the sofa for two years and thought that I’d never work again.’

Fortunately Kitty, who had trained at RADA, soon started to feel more positive again after a kidney transplant and returned to performing. She was very involved in developing the character of Lizzie in Emmerdale and hoped that the role would ‘be inspirational to sighted people who’ll say that she really doesn’t expect to be treated any differently’.

Our thoughts are with Kitty’s family and friends at this sad time.

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