Page last updated at 13:05 GMT, Monday, 13 July 2009 14:05 UK

Sudden death of ex-soap actor, 43

Geraint Owen
Geraint Owen had been considered for the James Bond role

A former actor in Welsh-language soap Pobol y Cwm has died suddenly, aged 43.

Geraint Owen, who played Pc Rod Phillips in the programme from 1991 to 1996, died on Saturday morning.

Mr Owen, the brother of BBC and S4C presenter Rhodri Owen, became ill at his partner's house in Swansea and was taken to Morriston Hospital.

The actor, originally from Gowerton, Swansea, auditioned for the role of James Bond some years go, eventually losing out to current 007 Daniel Craig.

Mr Owen was also a former Plaid Cymru councillor for Neath Port Talbot and had stood in assembly and parliamentary elections.

He also appeared in the 1980s S4C series Dinas and in the 2000 animated film about Jesus Christ, The Miracle Maker, starring Ralph Fiennes.

In his political career, Mr Owen stood against Welsh Secretary Peter Hain for the Neath seat in the 2005 general election.

He represented the Bryncoch South ward for Neath Port Talbot (NPT) council for four years before stepping down last year because of ill-health.

'Sincere character'

Dr Del Morgan, Plaid Cymru's NPT group leader, spoke of tremendous shock at hearing of Mr Owen's death.

"It's such a loss," he told the BBC Wales News website.

He said he had worked closely with Mr Owen in his bid to defeat Mr Hain at the last election.

"He had tremendous energy and enthusiasm in that campaign. I was hopeful that at some point in the future we would have had him back.

"He was always a very warm and sincere character and always pleasant.

"He did provide a great boost for Plaid in the Neath area in his being involved with us. He will be sadly missed."

Pobol y Cwm senior producer Ynyr Williams said everyone associated with the soap was "very sad" to hear of Mr Owen's death.

"Geraint played a central role in the series for years and staff at Pobol y Cwm have many fond memories of working with him," he said.

"Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time."

Mr Owen also worked as a drama lecturer at Neath College for eight years, until 2004.

A spokeswoman said: "Geraint Owen was a respected member of staff of Neath Port Talbot College, where he had been a lecturer in the school of creative, visual and performing Arts."

Ali Thomas, leader of Neath Port Talbot council said: "The council is deeply saddened to hear of the untimely death of former councillor Geraint Owen.

"We send our sincere condolences to his family at this difficult time."

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