ITV has confirmed that Gavin Blyth, the series producer of Emmerdale, has died at the age of 41. He passed away last night following a short period of ill health.
Blyth first worked on the Yorkshire soap between 2002 and 2005, before moving to the Manchester-based Coronation Street. He returned to Emmerdale at the beginning of 2009.
A spokesperson for Emmerdale confirmed the news to Digital Spy earlier today. The ITV statement read:
It is with great sadness that we confirm our series producer Gavin Blyth passed away last night after a short illness.
Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this terrible time. He will be greatly missed by us all. Gavin leaves his wife Suzy and children Tom, 15, Anya, 11 and Carter, aged 1.
Digital Spy has also published a tribute to Blyth from Steve November, Emmerdale’s executive producer. He said:
Gavin has made an immense contribution to Emmerdale since taking over as series producer in January 2009 and during many hugely successful years at ITV.
As a friend and colleague, he will be missed an incredible amount by us all. It is a very sad day for everyone at Emmerdale. Our thoughts are with Gavin's family and those closest to him at this difficult time.
Blyth first began work on Emmerdale in 2002, as the soap’s senior publicist, before later becoming the programme’s script editor.
In 2005, he left Emmerdale for another ITV soap, Coronation Street, to become, first, a story associate and, then, an assistant producer.
On his return to Emmerdale last year, Blyth revamped the rural Yorkshire-based soap by introducing a number new characters and major storylines. These included the story of Aaron Livesy (Danny Miller) struggling with his sexuality, which led to many plaudits for all involved and recognition for Miller at this year’s TV Choice Awards.