EastEnders star Danielle Harold has officially shared a final and emotional goodbye to the BBC One soap and her character Lola Pearce. The actress reduced viewers to tears earlier this month as she acted out her character's final moment as she died from cancer.
Lola, played by 31-year-old Danielle received a heartbreaking glioblastoma multiforme diagnosis last year. After suffering a seizure in scenes aired back in October, viewers saw the outgoing beautician in a hospital bed as she awaited an update on her health with partner Jay by her side.
Then during an emotional scene, mum-of-one Lola was told by a doctor: "The MRI confirms what we already thought, that you have a glioblastoma multiforme, which is a fast-growing and spreading tumour."
Try MEN Premium for FREE by clicking here for no ads, fun puzzles and brilliant new features.
Despite surgery and treatment, doctors tragically confirmed to Lola that her cancer was terminal. In a tough last six months, fans watched as the character struggled to come to terms with her tragically early death.
And over the last month, Lola finally said her goodbyes, after marrying her boyfriend Jay, played by Jamie Borthwick, as her condition deteriorated dramatically in the hospital.
Her death earlier this month left viewers heartbroken as she drew her last breath with her daughter, Lexi, by her side while Jay had popped into the toilet. The widow has since had fans in tears again as this week, Albert Square bid farewell to the fan-favourite at her funeral this week.
Sharing a heartbreaking tribute to her alter-ego as she officially made her final exit, Danielle posted a series of snaps dedicated to her time on the BBC soap over the last 15 years. "Goodbye Lola I’ll miss you…" she started the caption of her post.
"This is a hard post to write as I don’t have the words to say just how incredible my 15 years have been on the show. I've been so lucky to be a part of so many storylines over the years and work with so many amazing actors. I was so lucky that Eastenders was my first acting job and I couldn’t of asked for a better drama school, learning from the best cast over the years - I couldn’t be more grateful to you all."
Danielle went on to say that EastEnders is one of the "best teams" in TV, both on-screen and off, and the crew have always looked after her as she shared a string of images from her time on the recent best-soap winning programme.
"It’s been a very difficult story to tell and it wouldn’t of been possible without the love and care of everybody on set and I can’t thank you all enough for everything you have done for me over the years," the star continued, as she then gave put some individual thanks to her co-stars and fans.
"I especially want to say with all my heart thank you to my Mitchell’s you have all looked after me over the years ,taught me so much but most of all I have never laughed and never will like I do with you guys. Your love and support for me this year has meant the absolute world I’m so lucky to have the best second family a girl could ask for.
"Thank you all for taking Lola into your hearts especially for following her final year ,the love and support I have received has just been beyond overwhelming and it’s meant the world .I’m so sad to say goodbye but I’m excited for the future , thank you all so much." She then rounded off her post, writing: "Goodnight lola sleep well."
Jamie was among the first to respond, writing: "I’m having one of my grinch ‘I do actually have a heart' moments," alongside a crying laughing and heart emoji. Max Bowden, who plays Ben Mitchell, replied: "You took iconic to the next level. Never thought I’d care about a character like I do Lola. So grateful to have been able to work with you so closely for four years. You special talent."
Honey Mithcell star Emma Barton commented: "You are incredible lady….. & can’t wait to see what’s in store for you next.. truly has been an honour working with you darling.. & always your friend..." James Bye, known for playing Martin Fowler, added: "Incredible work ‘arold. We’ll miss you in the west wing! Time to fly gorgeous!!" before fans swooped in to share their sadness, love and praise.
But before she left, Danielle shared her 'one request'. Sharing a picture of Lola's large hooped earring to her Instagram Story, she wrote a message to the soap's boss Chris Clenshaw. "I have one request @chris_clenshaw you pass these on to Lexi.
"I couldn't of asked to leave work with a better boss. Thank you for all your support this year. It's been a hard year to make sure we got this story right and did it as much justice as is deserved and that you did. The show is in the best hands with you. Thank you for everything."