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

Actor Dale Meeks, best known for his roles in BBC drama Byker Grove and ITV soap Emmerdale, passed away on Saturday after suffering from heart failure. He was 44 years old.

Meeks rose to fame in the early 90s playing PJ in Byker Grove after joining the show during its fifth series in 1993. He stayed with the show for four years before making the transition to acting on screen and stage.

The actor then joined Emmerdale as Simon Meredith, which he played between 2003 and 2006. During his time on the show, Meeks won numerous awards including a National Television Award for Most Popular Newcomer in 2004, beating off competition from Doctor Who’s Billie Piper and The Bill’s Gary Lucy to scoop the accolade. His other TV credits include appearances on Heartbeat, Doctors and Casualty 1909.

Meeks was best known for his roles as Robbie Lawson in Emmerdale and Barry “Baz” Theobald in Byker Grove. He acted in over 30 episodes of Emmerdale between 1998 and 2000, playing a key role in some of the show’s most memorable stories. His character won hearts across Britain after forming part of one of the show’s first ever same-sex relationships with Ian Hope during his time onscreen. Meeks also had an extensive career outside of television, appearing on stage for many years before taking up roles for both BBC Radio Four and ITV.