Peaky Blinders actor Karl Shiels has died aged 47 after sparking recent health concerns by ‘repeatedly falling asleep while filming’ an Irish soap.
The Dublin-born actor, who played Ryan in the first series of the hit BBC show in 2013, died on Sunday, his agent confirmed.
Sources said he had died in his sleep after concerning fellow actors on the set of Irish soap Fair City by falling asleep during shoots.
The actor had also reportedly been seen on crutches and ‘in a lot of pain’ in recent days.
‘No one offered to help him or ask what was wrong. They just talked about him behind his back,’ a friend told MailOnline.
Most recently he had been working with his partner Laura Honan at the Theatre Upstairs in Dublin, where he had hailed as the artistic director. The group ceased performing at the Lanigans Pub in March this year, saying it had been ‘hard to leave when the love had been so real’.
Shiels was also known for his appearances in hit TV shows such as Foyles War and Doctors.
Loss: Peaky Blinders actor Karl Shiels had died aged 47, his agent has confirmed (pictured in 2013)
Shiels’ agent Lisa Richards, released a statement to Irish broadcaster RTE, saying: ‘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.’
She added: ‘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.’
The Garda Siochana, which is the police force in Dublin told MailOnline that it ‘did not comment on named individuals’.
The Coroners Service in Ireland but has yet to receive any information on when an inquest may be heard.
His partner Laura Honan is thought to have worked alongside Karl at the Theatre Upstairs in Dublin.
Hit drama: The actor, who played Ryan in the 2013 series of the hit BBC show, died on Sunday (pictured in Peaky Blinders left and with his partner Laura Honan, right)
Popular: Shiels became a regular on Fair City in 2014, becoming one of the most prominent characters. He last appeared on Sunday night in the show (pictured with Aisling Eyre)
Karl had worked as the artistic director of the company and Laura as the managing director and producer.
The company was founded in 2010 and received many awards including at the Edinburgh Fringe.
It had been based above the Lanigans Pub in Dublin and early this year the company moved location.
Karl had also spent five years on popular Irish soap Fair City, playing the character Robbie.
Brigie De Courcy, Executive Producer of Fair City also paid tribute on Monday, saying: ‘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.’
This is while one Twitter user from the Drogheda area of County Louth, who MailOnline had previously spoken to said: ‘Very sad to hear of the passing of Karl shiels. Only saw him Friday in the chemist on south circular road. He was on crutches and looked to be in a lot of pain. Always saw him around there. Such a great actor. Rest In Peace #Karlshiels.’
Irish broadcaster Patrick Doyle described Karl as ‘funny, honest and humble’
Deirdre Mc Donnell, who had previously been interviewed by MailOnline said she had seen Karl on Friday
Dublin actress Clelia Murphy who also starred in Fair City tweeted her condolences after hearing the news
Writer and comedian Eric Lalor paid tribute to Karl Shiels, calling him a ‘hugely gifted actor’
Irish broadcaster Patrick Doyle said he had been saddened to hear the news.
‘We worked together in a production of Dracula in 2013 and we shared many laughs. Having watched him perform and respect him for years I spent a lot of time pinching myself…
‘Last August Karl very kindly agreed to do an interview with me for the radio. He was charming, funny, honest and humble throughout. I am going to miss him. My thoughts are with his family.’
Shiels became a regular on Fair City in 2014, becoming one of the most prominent characters. He last appeared on television on Sunday night in the popular show.
Co-star Clelia Murphy tweeted her condolences and said: ‘There really are no words, RIP @KarlShiels #onwards xxx’
Shiels began his career as an electrician but changed direction in the early nineties when he trained with the Gaiety School of Acting.
The talented actor appeared in the 2005 film Batman Begins, as well as TV shows Foyles War, Doctors, Into the Badlands and The Tudors.
He had a prominent stage career, appearing in several productions in Dublin’s Abbey Theatre including Beauty in a Broken Place, At Swim-Two Birds and The Barbaric Comedies.
Irish talent: He was also known for his five years on popular Irish show Fair City, playing the character Robbie, pictured in 2004
Huge loss: Brigie De Courcy, Excecutive Producer of Fair City also paid tribute on Monday, saying: ‘We are absolutely devastated’
Karl’s colleagues have paid tribute online, with his Fair City co-star Eric Lalor writing: ‘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.’
Dave Kelly, who also starred on the soap, tweeted: ‘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.’
Actor and comedian Tom Moran marked his friend’s death with a Twitter photo writing: ‘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.
Friends: Karl’s colleagues have paid tribute online, including actor Tom Moran who wrote that he was ‘in absolute shock’
Tribute: Dave Kelly, who also starred on Fair City, tweeted: ‘Heartbroken at the news. I’ll miss you trying to make me laugh before a take