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Packed to the Rafters star Hugh Sheridan pens an emotional tribute to his friend after a heartbreaking loss

The beloved Aussie actor has suffered a devastating blow.

By Jess Pullar
Packed to the Rafters actor Hugh Sheridan has penned a heartbreaking tribute to a dear friend who passed away this week.
The 35-year-old shared a series of photos of himself and a woman, Imelda Blackwell, explaining their unique and close friendship, and the loss he feels after her passing.
In the Instagram caption, Hugh wrote: "In my essay published a little while back I mentioned 'Love has always come in so many different forms to me. I love people who inspire me. Not all love is sexual, and I don't think people always understand that. The fact is, I love many different people for many different reasons.'"
He continued to explain his relationship with Imelda a little deeper.
"I'm interested in connecting on a human level. More often it was love of the mind, the heart, the way in which we look and understand each other, the long laughs, uncontrollable laughs, the advice and care we give and are given. Today my best friend Imelda Blackwell, with whom I shared this love, passed away."

Hugh explained the moment he and Imelda first met - more than 20 years ago.
"I met her when I was 8, having a sleepover with my friend, her grandson, I guess he fell asleep watching Aladdin and I went to the kitchen to have a tea with Imelda. We stayed up and talked for hours and hours, the start of a beautiful friendship."
Imelda, who was presumably getting ill over a period of time recently, spent precious time with Hugh last week.
"I sat with her a week or so ago and read her my essay an important moment for both of us in our long supportive history together. We both shared a tear as I read, as we knew time isn't always on the side of such unique friendships.
"I miss you Imelda, I always do, but you promised me when you left the physical world you'd be all around me. I could use your physical hug right now, but the courage, memories and joy you gave me I will forever treasure and share. Farewell my friend and give Paul a hug from me. X."
Hugh penned a beautiful tribute to his long-time friend. (Instagram)
The actor has clearly been deeply affected by the loss.
Over the weekend, the Daily Mail reported the performer was admitted to hospital for treatment for his mental health following backlash about his casting in upcoming stage show Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Fellow actress and Home and Away alum Penny McNamee spoke out in defence of Hugh, saying: "Hey musical theatre friends, we have to stop supporting open letters written by outraged colleagues. There are ways to have civilised and safe conversations - either by sending private emails, making phone calls or speaking face to face
"Starting a social media pile-on is not only dangerous for the mental health of those involved, it is also leading to the cancelation of shows… and work for many our friends and colleagues who are already struggling.
"Let's change the way these issued are being raised. Xxx."
Penny's message, and Hugh's latest heartbreaking update this week definitely serve as a reminder that you never know what is going on behind closed doors. Our thoughts are with Hugh during this difficult time.
Readers who are seeking assistance can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636.
Penny McNamee defending her fellow actor. (Image L-R: Instagram, TV WEEK/Are Media syndication)

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