VICAR of Dibley star Emma Chambers has died aged 53, her agent has confirmed.

The actress, who lived in Lymington, died from natural causes.

Chambers famously portrayed the dim but lovable Alice Tinker opposite Dawn French's Geraldine Granger in long-running BBC comedy, The Vicar of Dibley.

The Doncaster-born actress also had roles in Bafta-winning Notting Hill and would be "greatly missed", her agent John Grant said.

He added: "We are very sad to announce the untimely death, from natural causes, of the acclaimed actress, Emma Chambers.

"Over the years, Emma created a wealth of characters and an immense body of work.

"She brought laughter and joy to many, and will be greatly missed.

"At this difficult time we ask that the privacy of the family and loved ones be respected."

Emma Freud, the wife of The Vicar Of Dibley's creator, Richard Curtis, paid tribute to Chambers on Twitter.

She wrote: "Our beautiful friend Emma Chambers has died at the age of 53.

"We're very very sad. She was a great, great comedy performer, and a truly fine actress. And a tender, sweet, funny, unusual, loving human being."

Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson recalled Chambers being "very funny".

He wrote on Twitter: "I'm sad about Emma Chambers. Knew her when she was a kid in Doncaster. She was very funny."

The actress was born in Doncaster, but went to secondary school at St Swithun's School, Winchester, before moving to The Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

As of 2002, she lived with her husband, fellow actor Ian Dunn, in Lymington, Hampshire.