EMMERDALE actor Tony Audenshaw has opened up about the loss of his wife Ruth to cancer – a battle which eerily followed a storyline he went through on the ITV soap.
The actor – who has been on the soap as Bob Hope since the year 2000 – lost his beloved other half at the age of 43, just months after her diagnosis with pancreatic cancer.
Speaking to The Mirror, he said: "She knew it was too late for her, but she wanted to help others. Two weeks before she died she had some of her cells harvested to be used in research trials.
"They might be pivotal in some kind of breakthrough. I have to hope so.
“That’s what Ruth was all about. She was a brilliant person. She was so brave.
“It’s really unfair that she’s gone, but my life was enriched so much by spending 24 years with her.”
The pair met in an aerobics class together in 1993, and they married three years later.
Together they had two children, George, 22, and Em, 20, and led an active and healthy lifestyle.
Ruth fell ill as the pair began making their retirement plans together in 2015, but the symptoms were easily overlooked before she became jaundiced.
The diagnosis eerily echoed a storyline his character went through in 2013, when on-screen wife Brenda suffered a brain tumour.
After the scan, Tony said: "“Ruth went, ‘I’m f****d’. I tried to reassure her that we didn’t know it was cancer, but she had Googled her symptoms and convinced herself it was.”
Starting chemotherapy in early 2016, Ruth strongly fought to beat her condition.
However, after trying pioneering surgery in Germany to help reduce the tumour so it could be removed, the couple discovered that the cancer had spread to her liver.
“They told us the cancer had spread to her liver and she had multiple tumours. It was terminal," he said.
“But Ruth was incredible. She said, ‘I’ve not got long left. I’m going to enjoy my life while I can’. We treated those last months like our retirement.”
Ruth passed away in April this year, seventeen months after being diagnosed.
She spent her final weeks with friends and family.
Following her wishes, Tony has spoken out about his loss in order to raise awareness for Pancreatic Cancer UK.
On behalf of his wife Tony is also urging people to host the Big Purple Quiz, a national fundraising event this November for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.
Got a story? email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us direct on 0207 782 4220