Emmerdale and Byker Grove actor Dale Meeks has died, aged just 48. 

Meeks, who played Simon Meredith on ITV soap Emmerdale between 2003 and 2006 after starring in BBC drama Byker Grove, died from “heart failure” on Saturday evening at South Tyneside Hospital in Newcastle, his brother Philip Meeks told PA Media Agency.

Meeks was due to turn 49 on the day of the King’s Coronation (May 6). 

Speaking about the death of his brother, Phillip said: “My heart is broken."

TV duo Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly (Ant and Dec) have led tributes to their Byker Grove co-star Meeks following his death on the weekend.

Meeks starred in the BBC drama as a leader of Denton Burn, the rival youth group to the Byker Grove youth club.

In a statement on Twitter, Ant and Dec, who played PJ and Duncan, said: “We are so incredibly sorry to hear the very sad news of Dale’s passing.

“He was the loveliest of guys, even though he was a Denton ‘Burner’, the arch nemesis of the Byker ‘Grovers’!

“A sad loss at such a young age. RIP Dale. Sleep well bonny lad.”

Responding to the tweet, Philip told PA: “That’s absolutely lovely.

“I sort of remember meeting them as kids myself. He (Dale) was in Byker Grove, he made one of them blind, not in real life.”

Meeks last appeared in a cameo role as Andy McAllister on ITV’s The Hunt For Raoul Moat.