Heartbreaking scenes as Emmerdale’s Ashley collapses tonight

It's the beginning of the end for the popular character

Emmerdale fans need to brace themselves, tonight sees the start of the Ashley Thomas’s deterioration before his death next week.

The dementia-sufferer has been getting worse recently, but when he collapses at the care home, it’s not looking good for the former vicar.

Things start out joyful, as Ashley and his friend Bob Hope are singing and dancing together having a great time.

But then Ashley suddenly starts coughing up blood and falls to the floor.

Bob runs to help him, and panicked shouts for help, but this is the moment that moves us towards his death.

When Laurel hears what’s happened to her husband, she is forced to brace herself for the worst, knowing she’s going to lose him.

Next week will see him diagnosed with pneumonia and Laurel wants to bring him home to spend his final days with his loved ones.

“She doesn’t want him to die in hospital,” Charlotte Bellamy, who plays Laurel, revealed to Inside Soap. “She doesn’t want him to be somewhere cold and clinical. She wants him to be surrounded by family, and the pictures of his life.

“She doesn’t know how long he has, but she knows that it’s days.”

Details of exactly how Ashley dies are being kept under wraps, but we know his final scenes will air on Friday 7 April.

Read more: Will Laurel turn to drink to cope with Ashley’s death?

It’s going to be a heartbreaking watch as friends and loved ones say their tender goodbyes before just Laurel is left alone at his bedside.

“We can’t say what happens, but it’s a beautiful ending,” explained Charlotte. “The team have done us proud, and it’ll make your heart swell.”

We’re not sure we’re ready for this, but we knew it had to come at some point.

Read more: Adam Thomas responds to Emmerdale exit rumours

Just how will poor Laurel cope with the loss of her husband, though?

“She still has her family, so she must be brave and carry on,” Charlotte said. “She needs to survive, doesn’t she? In life you pick yourself up and carry on.

“But I have no idea what she’ll do, and I haven’t even asked because in a way I don’t want to know.”

Brace yourselves, next week’s going to be very emotional.