Danish actress Connie Nielsen is helping five children left devastated after their mother died suddenly of a massive heart attack - and she's campaigning to raise awareness of heart disease amongst women.

The Gladiator actress joined forces with her brother ULRICH, a computer programmer in Minneapolis, Minnesota to provide extra support for the grieving widower and his five children.

The 39-year-old says, "We've been very involved. My brother is a big brother for this family, and the father is overwhelmed and not always around.

"My brother and his wife have been trying to help them with everything from building cupboards in their kitchen to taking the kids to museums. My 15-year-old son, SebastiAn, and I have also spent a lot of time with the children, helping them buy a wardrobe and things like that."

Nielsen, who is fronting American magazine WOMEN'S DAY's RED DRESS AWARDS which tell women of the danger of heart disease, adds, "A lot more women die from heart disease every year than men.

"When heart disease is represented, you usually see a male figure - a corporate guy who's just turning 50. Actually it's far more of a female problem."

03/02/2005 17:50