Actress Helen McCrory, known for her roles in Peaky Blinders and three Harry Potter films, has died of cancer at the age of 52.

The television star, who played Aunt Polly Gray in the BBC show since 2013, was expected to reprise her role in the final season.

Peaky Blinders season six is currently being filmed, but it is not clear if fans will be able to catch a glimpse of the late star in the upcoming series or not.

Helen's husband Damien Lewis said on Friday the actress had sadly passed away after a brave battle with cancer.

Before her death, it had been confirmed that Helen would be in the sixth and final season of the hit show.

The Argus: Helen McCrory as Polly Gray in the BBC series Peaky BlindersHelen McCrory as Polly Gray in the BBC series Peaky Blinders

Creator Steven Knight confirmed during a Q&A at the BFI that the star's character would return for the final season.

When asked whether Helen's character would survive until the end, he simply responded "Yes".

Helen had also confirmed last year that she had decided to stay on with the show.

"I had a wonderful offer of another thing by one of the people I think is the most talented people," she told the Express at the time.

“And I said no and came back to this because I feel it’s given me so much.

She added: “You see it through to the end if somebody wants to, you don’t just go ‘thank you'.

"And also I want to see it through to the end.”

In the By Order of The Peaky Blinders book, she also said: “Polly will continue to be battered by life because she loves it so fully. Anyone who lives it that full, and takes risks in that way, will be battered."

The Argus: Damian Lewis and Helen McCroryDamian Lewis and Helen McCrory

Following a year of delays as a result of the pandemic, the BBC cast was spotted on set in March as production got underway on the final season.

Helen had not been seen filming.

A spokesperson for the BBC show told us: “Helen’s performance as Polly Gray was inspirational, joyous, transgressive, hilarious and incredibly moving.

"As a person she was off-the-scale charismatic, and deeply caring. We feel so privileged to have worked with her over the last decade.

"All our thoughts and love are with Damian and family. 

“Out of respect to Helen and her family we will not be commenting on anything further at this time.”

Damian Lewis wrote on Twitter: "I'm heartbroken to announce that after a heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family."

The Homeland actor added: "She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we love her and know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives. She blazed so brightly. Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you."

The Argus: Cillian Murphy with Helen McCrory Cillian Murphy with Helen McCrory

Cillian Murphy led tributes to the “gifted” actress following news of her death.

The actor labelled his Peaky Blinders co-star as a “beautiful, caring, funny compassionate human being”.

Murphy, who plays Tommy Shelby in the crime drama, said: “I am broken-hearted to lose such a dear friend.

“Helen was a beautiful, caring, funny, compassionate human being.

“She was also a gifted actor – fearless and magnificent. She elevated and made humane every scene, every character she played.

“It was a privilege to have worked with this brilliant woman, to have shared so many laughs over the years.

“I will dearly miss my pal. My love and thoughts are with Damian and her family.”

A statement from BBC's Director of Drama, Piers Wenger read: "Helen was one of the finest actresses this country will ever see. From Potter to Peaky, from Blair to Bond, Helen’s fearlessness made every part she played unique and unmissable.

"Her body of work speaks of her extraordinary talent, what it doesn’t speak of is her kindness, intelligence and sense of fun.

"This is too soon, too cruel. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this incredibly sad time," he added.

The final season of Peaky Blinders is expected to air in late 2021 or early 2022.