24/02/2018 16:16 GMT | Updated 24/02/2018 20:50 GMT

Emma Chambers Dead: The Vicar Of Dibley's Alice Tinker Dies Aged 53

Dawn French pays tribute to 'unique and beautiful spark'.

Emma Chambers, best-known for her role as Alice Tinker in ‘The Vicar of Dibley’, has died aged 53.

The news was confirmed by her agency who said she passed away from natural causes on Wednesday evening and will be “greatly missed”.

It added: “Emma created a wealth of characters and an immense body of work. She brought laughter and joy to many.”

“At this difficult time we ask that the privacy of the family and loved ones be respected.”

Chambers also starred in Notting Hill and the TV adaptation of Martin Chuzzlewit but it was her role as the lovely-but-dim Alice Tinker in The Vicar of Dibley between 1994 and 2007 that won the nation’s hearts. 

Watch a clip of Alice Tinker below...

Dawn French has led tributes to Chambers and said in a statement to the Press Association: “Emma was a very bright spark and the most loyal & loving friend anyone could wish for.

“I will miss her very much.”

The Vicar Of Dibley, also written by Curtis, originally ran from 1994 to 1998 but returned for numerous festive and comic relief specials with the latest episode airing as recently as 2015.

Each episode would close with Geraldine telling a joke to Alice who would either react nonplussed, interpret it literally, or only understand the humour once it was explained.

Jon Plowman, executive producer of The Vicar Of Dibley and former head of comedy at the BBC, said: “This is a sad day. Emma was a gifted comic actress who made any part she played – no matter how ditzy or other worldly – look easy.

“To create a much-loved comic character as she did, you have to be every bit as bright and clever as Emma always was.

“She was great fun to work with and adored by all the cast and crew of Vicar Of Dibley. She will be missed and our deepest condolences go out to her family and friends.”

She is survived by her husband, fellow actor Ian M. Dunn