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EastEnders actor Max Bowden says filming Ben and Lola's brain tumour scenes has been a "tough old ride", as his best friend died from the same illness.
The soap star, who plays Ben Mitchell, says the storyline is the "hardest thing he's ever dealt with" as he paid a heartbreaking tribute to his pal.
In the soap, Ben launched a desperate search to help prolong Lola's life in emotional scenes alongside co-star Danielle Harold.
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Max tragically said goodbye to his real-life friend nearly two years ago after his tumour went undiagnosed.
The star shared a clip of Ben speaking to doctors and wrote alongside it: "This clip is from tonight’s episode. This storyline has been the hardest I have ever had to deal with. 21 months ago I lost my best friend in the world to an undiagnosed brain tumour.
"Friday afternoon we were on the phone for an hour discussing Ronaldo to United return, 24 hours later he went into a coma and never woke up.
"Coming to terms with this grief has been the most turbulent, overwhelming, impossible thing I have ever had to overcome, and telling this story with Lola has been a tough old ride but an incredibly rewarding one.
"When we lose someone, we never know how we’re going to feel, how we’re going to change. Ben is no exception."
In the soap, Ben and Lola slept together years ago and now share a daughter together named Lexi Pearce.
Max said he is "proud" of the team behind the storyline and urged people to "be kind."
Discussing his character, Max continued: "He is a complicated man. Riddled with trauma, insecurities and complexities. Fear can turn us into monsters. Many have picked up on this and I’m glad, this is exactly what we wanted to portray.
"Every one of the Mitchells are dealing with it very differently, and that’s a credit to the writing team and the story team.
"Playing a character doesn’t mean I agree with his choices, however we can all appreciate that grief goes different things to different people.
"I appreciate all of the lovely messages. Oh, and gentle reminder to be kind, really proud of our EastEnders team for their constant good work and ambition to tell tough stories."
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