Benedict Cumberbatch opens up on heartbreak after his 'gifted' sister dies following cancer battle

Benedict Cumberbatch
(Image credit: Getty)

Benedict Cumberbatch has opened up on his heartbreak after his 'gifted' sister died following a seven-year battle with cancer.

The actor, who has only one sibling, had kept the details of his sister's illness secret from his fans until now when he shared the news that she had died.

Benedict, who is the star of the new Spider-Man: No Way Home movie, spoke about his half-sister Tracy Peacock, during a recent outing,

He said, "She died of cancer," Benedict revealed. "She'd been battling it for seven years."

Tracy was from his mother Wanda Ventham's first marriage to James Tabernacle in 1957. They divorced in 1974 and Wanda later went on to marry Timothy Cumberbatch and the pair had a son, Benedict.

His sister leaves behind a husband and her 34-year-old daughter Emily.

Benedict continued, "As the greatly awful Donald Rumsfeld said, 'stuff happens'. It's horrible. She was nothing to do with this world. She was markedly different."

He then went on to describe his sister as a "fine artist". He explained, "She was a brilliant fine artist but ended up doing a lot of restorative work on canvas and on frames and carpentry. But still kept her hand in and did her own work and made the most Christmas and celebratory cards of any kind of festival. She was very gifted."

A career in the arts seems to run in the family, as their mother was an actress and appeared on TV shows such as Doctor Who, Holby City, and Heartbeat.

Benedict attended the red carpet for his new Spider-Man movie, with his wife Sophie Hunter, with whom he has three children.

Benedict Cumberbatch and wife Sophie Hinter

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 13: Sophie Hunter and Benedict Cumberbatch attend Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man: No Way Home" Los Angeles Premiere on December 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Tracy was affectionately known as 'Tracks', would often look after her baby brother, and once accidentally left him too long on a freezing rooftop after placing him there to calm him down.

"She forgot about me," he previously recalled, affectionately.

"I mean, it was funny. She was in the kitchen with her friends and she suddenly saw the snow falling through the window."

And Tracy opened up on her brother's love life, following his 2012 split from fashion designer girlfriend Anna Jones, explaining why he used to struggle to find potential suitors.

"You would have to be a pretty smart cookie to keep up with him," she said, "I think that is why possibly he has trouble with girlfriends."

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)