Emmerdale Cain stars illness – terrifying collapse, death fears and surgery

Emmerdale's Caleb true identity unmasked as 'relative' returns and revenge uncovered Emmerdale actor Jeff Hordley, who plays village bad boy Cain Dingle, has had a tough time in his off-screen life just like his character on the ITV soap.

However while Cain often gets himself in sticky situations, Jeff's own troubles have come from a health issue which has caused him to make some major changes to his life.

The soap icon , who turned 53 on March 7, has spoken openly about his illness over the years.

READ MORE: Emmerdale Cain Dingle star's unexpected second career away from ITV soap cameras

In 1996, 26-year-old jobbing actor Jeff was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease.

Jeff had been suffering from stomach cramps and diarrhoea for six years when he got he news.

The same disease had inadvertently caused his mother's death in 1979. He has said previously: "When I was just nine, my mum had died from the very same illness. My reaction was, ‘Am I going to die too?’"

Doctors reassured Jeff that her death had been caused by complications in surgery – and that medical advancements meant that his condition could be more easily treated.

Following his diagnosis, he had surgery to remove the diseased part of the large bowel and to allow his "gut to heal".

Jeff was then put on medication to help prevent damage and was fine for seven years.

But, in 2002, he collapsed at a theatre, haemorrhaging blood from his back passage.

The relapse was dealt with and Jeff was able to go home – but, in a bid to prevent it happening again in the future, he stopped smoking, cut down on alcohol, and cut processed foods from his diet.

Jeff is married to Emmerdale actress Zoe Henry (Rhona Goskirk) and they have two children, Violet and Stan. Jeff, 52, and Zoe, 48, now have an allotment.

Jeff believes that managing his symptoms is down to his home grown diet.

He previously told The Mirror: "A nutritionist put me on a strict detox diet for two months – no alcohol, sugar, meat, wheat or dairy.

"It was tough but it worked. Zoe and I stopped eating processed foods, got an allotment, and cooked everything from scratch."

The couple share their love for growing produce and have become keen gardeners, regular sharing updates of their homegrown produce on social media.

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The changes to his diet means Jeff no longer needs to take medication, but he does take a number of alternatives, including probiotics to restore the good bacteria in the gut and aloe vera juice to ease his digestion.

Jeff also takes a supplement called simba, to help the immune system and completely avoids coffee as well as anything that contains monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Crohn’s Disease is thought to affect at least 115,000 people in the UK, including former TOWIE star Sam Faiers, who is an ambassador for Crohn’s and Colitis UK, like Jeff.

American singer Anastasia has also been open about dealing with the condition.

On the Crohn’s and Colitis UK website a quote from Jeff reads: "You are not alone if you are suffering from Crohn's or Colitis… although sometimes you might feel as if you are.

"I was scared it would stop my acting career from taking off. Luckily it didn't. Following surgery, medication and diet control, I’ve been playing the role of Cain Dingle since 2000. "

Emmerdale airs weeknights on ITV1 at 7.30pm

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