Karl Shiels, 'Fair City' and 'Peaky Blinders' actor, dies suddenly aged 47: 'Our hearts are broken'

A highly respected actor, Shiels’ TV and film work included 'Batman Begins', 'Veronica Guerin', 'Intermission', 'The Clinic', and 'Capital Letters' for which he was nominated for an IFTA for Best Actor in 2004

Actor Karl Shiels, the soap star who shot to fame with the soap opera, 'Fair City', died aged 47 Monday. The cause of his death is unknown. His demise was confirmed by his agent, Lisa Richards. A highly respected actor, Shiels’ TV and film work included 'Batman Begins', 'Veronica Guerin', 'Intermission', 'The Clinic', and 'Capital Letters' for which he was nominated for an IFTA for Best Actor in 2004. According to BBC, his theater credits included 'Henry IV' part one at The Abbey Theater in Dublin and Enda Walsh's 'Penelope' for the Druid Theatre Company.

In a statement, Richards said, "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 Theater Upstairs - where he was such a support and mentor for young writers, actors 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 and their mother Dearbhla and his many close friends among whom we count ourselves lucky to have been for so many years," it added. "Karl was a remarkable force in Irish theater and hugely loved and respected by all who worked with him."

According to Independent.ie, Executive Producer of 'Fair City,' Brigie de Courcy spoke of Shiels' valuable contribution to the series. "Joining Fair City in 2014, Karl Shiels made his mark immediately playing the formidable Robbie Quinn, and always brought such, warmth, talent and humor to Carrigstown".

"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," she said. His passing comes weeks after the death of Tom Jordan who played Charlie Kelly in the long-running soap.

Shiels has also starred in several top TV shows. He played Ryan in an episode of 'Peaky Blinders' in 2013, as well as playing Declan in 'Into the Badlands', the martial arts drama. Shiels also starred in plays at prestigious U.K. theaters including the Royal Court and the Bush Theatre.