Television fans around the country were saddened by the news that Casualty star Simon MacCorkindale passed away in the arms of his beloved wife actress Susan George. He was just 58.
Brave Simon, who played Dr Harry Harper, had chosen to keep the severity of his illness a secret and tried to carry on with his life and work, as normally as possible.
His close friend Tristan Gemmill, who appeared alongside him as consultant Adam Trueman in the BBC1 drama, paid tribute to the star and told how, despite being diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2006, Simon had wanted to protect his colleagues and fans from the extent of his suffering.
“He didn’t want people to make a fuss,” says Tristan, 42. “He wanted to fight it alone with his wife at his side. Many people didn’t know his health was so bad. The cast are devastated.”
Fellow Casualty star Suzanne Packer, who plays nurse Tess Batemen, also has fond memories. “Simon was very generous,” she says. “He talked to the bosses the same way he talked to the cleaners. He was a real trooper.”
Simon underwent an operation to remove part of his bowel in 2006, but later tests revealed the disease had spread to his lungs. He left Casualty after six years in 2008 to tour with the play Sleuth and his last TV appearance was in the BBC police drama New Tricks earlier this year.