It was announced over the weekend that the award-winning comedy actress Emma Chambers had passed away on Wednesday (February 21st 2018), just two and a half weeks ahead of her 54th birthday. Her friends and colleagues have been being tribute to her on social media, with many lamenting her young age. 

Emma Chambers starred in Notting HillEmma Chambers starred in Notting Hill

While no cause of death - other than 'natural causes' - was given for 'The Vicar of Dibley' star, former BBC executive producer Jon Plowman mentioned on Radio 4 today that it was a heart attack. 'It's no age to have a heart attack, as I understand it', he said on the show. Her only other known health conditions were asthma and an animal allergy.

Emma was best known for her role of Alice Horton nee Tinker in the 90s sitcom 'The Vicar of Dibley', starring opposite Dawn French in her titular role, with Alice being her best friend and assistant. Her childish charm and consistent lack of understanding the exasperated Vicar's humour landed her a British Comedy Award in 1996.

It marked her last ever TV appearance, though between seasons she also starred in the mini-series 'Martin Chuzzlewit', the Hugh Grant movie 'Notting Hill' and BBC sitcom 'How Do You Want Me?' which also starred Dylan Moran and Charlotte Coleman. 

The actress also once lodged with 'father figure' Sir Ian McKellen for a short time, and she was due to turn 54 on March 11th 2018. 

Among the many Twitter tributes to Emma was Dawn French's picture of her Vicar character receiving a suffocating hug on a sofa from Emma's character. 'I was regularly humped like this by the unique and beautiful spark that was Emma Chambers', she joked. 'I never minded. I loved her. A lot.'

Hugh Grant added: 'Emma Chambers was a hilarious and very warm person and of course a brilliant actress. Very sad news.'

Emma Chambers is survived by her husband Ian Dunn, also an actor who has starred in 'Girls in Love', 'EastEnders' and 'Coronation Street'.