Lady Sybil"s shock death boosts Downton Abbey ratings as 9.5million tune in to watch heart-breaking scenes

Lady Sybil's shock death boosts Downton Abbey ratings as 9.5million tune in to watch heart-breaking scenes

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UPDATED:

15:27 GMT, 16 October 2012

The death of popular Downton Abbey character Lady Sybil was kept a closely guarded secret until Sunday's dramatic episode.

However, despite viewers being previously unaware of what woes were to come in the episode, it proved a ratings winner, with 9.5million tuning in.

The period drama managed 100,000 more viewers than The X Factor results show, which screened just before on 1TV1.

Short-lived joy: Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) and husband Tom Branson (Allen Leech) celebrate after the birth of their baby girl

Short-lived joy: Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) and husband Tom Branson (Allen Leech) celebrate after the birth of their baby girl

So happy: Mother and baby seem to be well after Sybil junior's arrival...

So happy: Mother and baby seem to be well after Sybil junior's arrival…

Lady Sybil was seen dying of eclampsia
soon after giving birth to a healthy baby girl, leaving her husband Tom
Branson (Allen Leech) and family devastated.

Following the episode, fans took to Twitter in their droves to express their 'grief' over the departure of actress Jessica Brown Findlay from the series.

Celebrity fan of the show, former Blue Peter presenter Zoe Salmon tweeted: 'My head still hurts after crying over Lady Sybil's death. #downton.'

Joy turns to horror: Lady Sybil wakes in the night and suffers eclampsia fits to the shock of her concerned husband and family

Joy turns to horror: Lady Sybil wakes in the night and suffers eclampsia fits to the shock of her concerned husband and family

Please don't leave us: Sybil's husband Tom and mother Cora are beside themselves as they realise she is slipping away

Please don't leave us: Sybil's husband Tom and mother Cora are beside themselves as they realise she is slipping away

Another follower wrote: 'When Tom kept saying “Wake up, love” I just cried even more. #downton #sybil.'

Before giving birth, the family were torn between conflicting advice from the family physician Doctor Clarkson and a specialist Sir Philip Tapsell (Tim Pigott-Smith).

Dr Clarkson noticed worrying symptoms when she was in labour and urged the family to bring Sybil to hospital, while Sir Philip disagreed.

Realisation: Sybil's eldest sister Lady Mary and father Robert, Earl of Grantham watch in shock

Realisation: Sybil's eldest sister Lady Mary and father Robert, Earl of Grantham watch in shock

She's gone: Lady Sybil slips away...

She's gone: Lady Sybil slips away…

However, by the time Sybil's husband Tom decides she should be brought to hospital, the baby is already coming and his wife gives birth to a baby girl safely.

However, after going to bed to recover from the labour, Sybil wakes up experiencing the eclampsia fits predicted by Dr Clarkson and dies in front of her horrified family.

Her grief-stricken mother Cora, Countess Of Grantham, and many other members of the family blame Robert, Earl of Grantham, for Sybil's death after he sided with Sir Philip's bad advice not to Sybil to hospital.

Downton's former chauffeur Tom, now part of the family, is left devastated and now a single father to their baby girl, who he names Sybil.

Farewell my sister: Lady Mary kisses her dead sister's forehead

Farewell my sister: Lady Mary kisses her dead sister's forehead

Just the two of us: Tom realises its just him and his daughter left

Just the two of us: Tom realises its just him and his daughter left