It's the biggest literary news of the past seven days: if you somehow haven't heard who author Helen Fielding has killed off in her Bridget Jones sequel to The Edge of Reason, then look away now. Bridget Jones' Diary, published in 1996 after an anonymous column in The Independent newspaper, catapulted the former journalist to fame and spawned a hugely successful movie franchise starring Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.

Renee Zellweger
Renee Zellweger Has Become Synonymous With Bridget Jones.

After a long break, Fielding announced that she'd begun writing the third instalment in the Bridget Jones series in mid-2012 and now it looks like Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy is finally here. Before the novel has even been published, Bridget Jones fans are going wild upon the news that Fielding had decided to kill off Mark Darcy, Bridget's heartthrob husband played by Colin Firth in the movies, and leave our heroine widowed.

Colin Firth
Colin Firth's Mark Darcy Made Us All Swoon In The Movie Adaptations.

The book centres on a 51 year-old Bridget who still keeps her famous diary, yo-yo diets, drinks and smokes but we learn that the single mother-of-two lost her beloved husband five years prior to where we find her in the novel. The seductive yet sleazy Daniel Cleaver, played by Hugh Grant in the films, is still around and acts as a "naughty godfather" to Bridget's children, Mabel and Billy, reports People.

Though devastated by the loss of Darcy, Bridget has found herself a toyboy, "Roxster," to keep her company for the time being. The book promises plenty of bittersweet moments and the usual Bridget Jones funny mishaps, tinged with the loss of one of the series' most-beloved characters; the charming Mark Darcy.

Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant Plays Devilish Boss & Sex Pest Daniel Cleaver.

Naturally, fans have reacted with heart-broken tweets and messages to Fielding about the huge character loss and what this means for the unlikely heroine. Lovers of the films won't have to worry about losing Colin Firth for a little while though: upcoming movie Bridget Jones's Baby is currently in the works which will follow the hapless heroine as she enters her 40s and has a child with her now-husband Mark.

Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy will be published on the 15th October.