BRIDGET Jones fans might want to get thier tissues at the ready - Mark Darcy is dead.
Author Helen Fielding has killed off the hero of her first two novels and the world's most famous singleton has become a widow.
The revelation came as extracts of writer Helen Fielding's latest Bridget Jones's Diary, Mad About The Boy, were published in the Sunday Times Magazine.
Fifteen years after the last novel in the saga, it turns out unlucky-in-love Bridget married Darcy and they had two children - only for Fielding to kill him off.
Bridget Jones's Diary started life as a newspaper column in 1995 and was followed by two best-selling novels, with their corresponding Hollywood blockbuster film adaptations featuring Renee Zellweger as Bridget and Colin Firth as Darcy.
Some scenes of the movies, those in the snow outside her parents home, were filmed in Snowshill, Gloucestershire.
The books are loosely based on the Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice. In the novels, the heroine is very fond of Colin Firth's portrayal of the fictional Mr Darcy.
The original book was eventually voted by readers as one of the 10 novels that defined the 20th century and was centred around love interests Mark Darcy and her cad boss Daniel Cleaver.
After hearing from her last in 1999 with Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, readers will now find Bridget as a 51-year-old widow obsessed with wrinkles.
Bridget's new adventures as a fifty-something cougar sees her meet 30-year-old toy boy boyfriend, Roxter, on Twitter, five years after Darcy's death.
But those who want to know what happened to the love of her life will have to wait until about Mad About The Boy is published on October 10, as his death will appear in a flashback deep into the book.
Shocked fans took to Twitter today and declared themselves heartbroken.