Peaky Blinders actor Karl Shiels has died, it has been confirmed.
The actor, who played the character of Ryan in the third episode of season one, died on Sunday (July 14), according to his agent Lisa Richards. He was 47 years old.
In a statement given to RTE, Richards said: “We are deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden passing of our client and friend Karl Shiels yesterday.
“Karl was a uniquely talented individual, simultaneously intense, light-hearted, funny, sharp-witted, outspoken and intensely powerful as an actor, director and artistic director of the Theatre Upstairs – where he was such a support and mentor for young writers and directors – and of his own company Semper Fi before that.
“Our hearts are broken but today our thoughts are with his partner Laura and his family, his children, their mother Dearbhla and his many close friends, among whom we count ourselves lucky to have been for so many years.”
As well as appearing in Peaky Blinders, Shiels was a regular on Irish soap Fair City and had roles in TV shows and films including Foyle’s War, Batman Begins, and The Tudors.
Shiels was born in Dublin and studied drama at the Gaiety School Of Acting in the city. As well as his many screen performances, he also appeared in productions of Beauty In A Broken Place, The Barbaric Comedies, and more at his hometown’s Abbey Theatre.
Paying tribute to the actor, Fair City executive producer Brigie De Courcy said: “We are absolutely devastated and he will be so greatly missed by the entire cast and crew. Our thoughts are with his family at this incredibly sad time.”
His Fair City co-star Eric Lalor wrote on Twitter: “Absolutely stunned and heartbroken to hear of the death of Karl Shiels. A hugely gifted actor and a really great friend, I will miss him so much. Thinking of his gorgeous family, may he Rest In Peace.”
Actor and comedian Tom Moran added: “In absolute shock to hear that Karl Shiels has passed away. Karl was a mentor, supporter, critic and friend and, when you made him laugh, you knew you were really onto something.”
See those and more tributes to Shiels below.
Absolutely stunned and heartbroken to hear of the death of Karl Shiels. A hugely gifted actor and a really great friend, I will miss him so much. Thinking of his gorgeous family, may he Rest In Peace 💔
— Eric Lalor (@ericlalor) July 15, 2019
In absolute shock to hear that Karl Shiels has passed away. Karl was a mentor, supporter, critic and friend and, when you made him laugh, you knew you were really onto something. He had a spirit that shone, onstage and onscreen. Irish theatre will be forever in his debt #Onwards pic.twitter.com/uzGnLNdmRe
— Tom Moran (@TMoran93) July 15, 2019
Karl Shiels gave me a chance when no one else would. Onwards and onwards in peace Karl.
— Caitríona Daly (@caitrionadaly) July 15, 2019
Heartbroken at the news. I'll miss you trying to make me laugh before a take. You brought great talent and life to the set everyday. For all them little bits of wisdom you shared, thank you. Be good Robbie ❤️ @KarlShiels #karlshiels
— Dave Kelly (@DavekellyDave) July 15, 2019
Such awful news. Karl Shiels was an amazing champion of Irish theatre. He gave many young actors a great start with the Theatre Upstairs at Lanigans and was as likely to attend the smallest, newest show to support as the big opening nights. A formidable man and a great one. RIP. https://t.co/0wMzKY9OWH
— Darragh Doyle (@darraghdoyle) July 15, 2019
Druid is deeply saddened by the loss of Karl Shiels.
A champion of Irish theatre, we are honoured to have worked with Karl.
Our thoughts today are with his family. Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam. pic.twitter.com/2fi8XHeaJf
— Druid Theatre (@DruidTheatre) July 15, 2019
We are immensely saddened to hear of the passing of our colleague and friend, Karl Shiels. We wish to express our heartfelt condolences to Karl’s family and friends. A tribute will be made to Karl from the Abbey Stage at the end of tonight’s performance. May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/TwGDdAEGMh
— Abbey Theatre (@AbbeyTheatre) July 15, 2019
Karl Shiels was a force of nature whose legacy will live on. A titan of our industry not only for his performances, but also the vital and unique platform he gave young writers, directors and actors with The Theatre Upstairs. A true one off. You'll be very sadly missed. X pic.twitter.com/3TqtvLdZX7
— Gavin O'Connor (@gavinoconnor) July 15, 2019