THIS summer in the Dales left soap fans heartbroken after Rishi Sharma's sudden and unexpected death.
The beloved Emmerdale character was found at the bottom of his staircase. But who was Rishi and how did he die?
Who was Rishi Sharma in Emmerdale?
Rishi Sharma was initially introduced to ITV viewers in November, 2011, when he first arrived in the eponymous village with his then-wife Georgia Sharma.
The pair arrived in Emmerdale ahead of their son Jai's (Chris Bisson) wedding with Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins).
Georgia and Rishi attended the ceremony together in January, 2012, but their marriage was eventually dissolved.
This prompted Rishi to move in with Jai and he had to navigate a new, drama-packed life in the Dales.
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He most notably helped Jai hide the fact he was Archie Breckle's biological father to save his marriage with Charity and admitted he had actually fathered the child despite not agreeing with his son's choices.
In March, 2018, he was involved in a storyline during which his daughter Priya had been accused of child abuse but was eventually cleared.
Later on, that same year, he took a liking to the new village GP, Manpreet Jutla (Rebecca Sarker) and the pair tied the knot.
But Rishi's heart was in tatters when Manpreet rekindled her romance with former fiancé Charles Anderson (Kevin Mathurin).
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A true family man, Rishi was the father of Jai, Priya – as mentioned above – and Nikhil Sharma who has been living in Canada since 2016.
He was also the grandfather of Mia, Archie, Molly, Amba and Eliza.
But in a shocking twist, weeks ahead of his death, Rishi was revealed to have adopted Jai.
How did Rishi Sharma die in Emmerdale?
The revelation was made as Jai was getting ready to walk down the aisle with Laurel Thomas (Charlotte Bellamy) as he searched through old paperwork at Rishi's to find his divorce certificate.
After finding his adoption papers, Jai confronted Rishi to get the truth out of him.
Unfortunately, Rishi was unable to be fully upfront with his adoptive son and Jai became more aggravated as he realised he'd been kept in the dark for four decades.
To make matters worse, Manpreet knew all about Jai's adoption but kept the secret alive.
Unable to forgive his father for his deception, Jai demanded he stayed away from his wedding to Laurel before changing his mind as he found out he was the result of an affair Georgia once had with Rishi's younger brother Amit.
Despite inviting him to the wedding after all, Rishi never made it, leaving Jai to believe tensions between them would remain.
But in a devastating twist, and as mentioned above, Rishi was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in his home.
Many viewers believed he could have been murdered as nothing is ever as it seems in the Dales.
Soap fans theorised that serial killer Meena Jutla could have secretly returned to Emmerdale in the hopes of getting revenge on her sister Manpreet, starting off her plan by claiming yet another life in the village.
Others speculated that Rishi's heart had failed due to the stress he was under keeping the secret about Jai's adoption and real father, which led to an explosive row.
However, the coroner in charged of Rishi's autopsy cleared up all doubt and confirmed the beloved patriarch had died after an accidental fall down the stairs.
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Who played Rishi Sharma in Emmerdale?
Rishi Sharma was portrayed by Ugandan-born British actor Bhasker Patel since his Emmerdale debut in 2011.
Bhasker was born on February 7, 1956, in Kampala and, after living in Gujarat in Western India, he was able to move to London at the age of 17.
While many TV fans may only know him for his long stint in Emmerdale, Bhasker has had a string of roles on both the small and big screens since starting his career in 1981.
The 67-year-old appeared in a series of programs including Grange Hill, The Jewel in the Crown, Crown Court, Birds of a Feather, Only Fools and Horses and Skins, among many others.
He also had recurring roles in The Real Eddy English, Brookside, Civvies and Pire Wickedness.
Much like his on-screen son Chris Bisson, he has also had a forgotten role in Coronation Street in 2004.
As mentioned above, Bhasker has also been involved in cinema and has had several appearances on the silver screen.
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These include roles in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) and Partition (1987).
Emmerdale airs weeknights from 7.30pm on ITV.
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