Viewers were left in tears after ITV paid tribute to late actress Leah Bracknell.

The former Emmerdale actress tragically passed away earlier this week after a three-year battle with stage four lung cancer at the age of 55.

And yesterday the soap paid tribute to its longtime star, who played Zoe Tate in the drama between 1989 and 2005.

It was announced at the beginning of the show that the episode would be dedicated to the late actress with the soap displaying a smiling picture of the star, alongside the words ‘In Loving Memory of Leah Bracknell 1964-2019’.

Viewers immediately took to Twitter to express their sadness at the loss.

‘#Emmerdale If I wasn’t in bits already seeing the episode dedicated to Leah Bracknell has done it for me 😭,’ wrote one viewer.

‘This is genuinely so sad, such a lovely woman with amazing acting skills’, added another one, while a third commented, ‘Lovely that for Leah @emmerdale at the end #Emmerdale.’

Another highlighted on the impact of the star’s work, writing, ‘Wonderful tonight’s episodes of #Emmerdale @emmerdale are dedicated to Leah Bracknell who played Zoe Tate.

‘A fine actress & #LGBTQ icon. She was the first lesbian character in a British Soap. According to cast. One of the kindest & most lovely person you could meet. RIP.’

Emmerdale paid another tribute to the star earlier in the week, writing on Twitter, ‘Everyone on Emmerdale is very sad to hear of the death of Leah Bracknell.

‘She was a hugely popular member of the Emmerdale cast for over 16 years. Leah was a very generous and caring colleague, much loved by cast and crew alike. #Emmerdale’

Leah’s passing hit the industry hard, with tributes flooding in all week from fellow soap stars.

‘So sorry to hear that the beautiful soul, Leah Bracknell, has lost her battle with cancer,’ wrote Emmerdale and Coronation Street star Sally Ann Matthews. ‘The world has lost a little sparkle x’.

Coronation Street’s Kym Marsh and Antony Cotton also tweeted, writing, ‘So sorry to hear of Leah Bracknell’s passing. Sending love and thoughts to her family at this sad time. X’ and ‘Just got back from the cinema and heard about Leah Bracknell. So, so sad. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest Leah x’.

‘I’m truly sad to hear that we have lost Leah Bracknell,’ added soap director Duncan Foster. ‘She was one of the first actresses I ever worked with. Very talented and also just a very special woman. So sad. RIP Leah. X’.