Paul O’Grady has died aged 67

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TV presenter, actor and comedian Paul O’Grady has died at the age of 67.

O’Grady, known for his scouse drag queen persona Lily Savage and for presenting light entertainment shows including Blankety Blank, died last night (March 28).

His husband Andre Portasio said that O’Grady died “unexpectedly but peacefully”. A cause of death is unknown.

“It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening,” Portasio said in a statement [via BBC News]. “He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humour, wit and compassion.

“I know that he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years.”

After O’Grady rose to fame in the ’90s with his drag queen persona, he went on to host The Paul O’Grady Show on ITV from 2004 to 2005 before moving with it to Channel 4 from 2006 until 2009. The chat show was later revived in 2013 on ITV and remained on air for two years.

In 2013 the chat show was hosted by guests after O’Grady had a health scare. He’d previously had heart attacks in 2002 and 2006, with the latter incident requiring him to stay in intensive care.

Most recently, O’Grady had been on tour playing Miss Hannigan in the musical Annie.

Last year O’Grady left his BBC Radio 2 show, confirming that it was because he was unhappy about sharing his Sunday afternoon slot. He also fronted an episode of The Love Of Dogs in 2022 which featured an appearance by Camilla, Queen Consort.

Tributes have began pouring in for the late star. ITV chat show host Lorraine Kelly wrote on Twitter that he was a “really special man”. She said: “Such sad news. Paul O’Grady – funny, fearless, brave, kind and wise. Will be sorely missed.”

Good Morning Britain host Charlotte Hawkins said O’Grady was “magnificent”, while radio presenter Simon Mayo added he was “a lovely man, always funny and a radio natural”.

Singer and TV host Aled Jones described O’Grady as “a lovely lovely person”, while broadcaster Vernon Kay said he was “one of the nicest and kindest people I’ve ever met, always a joy to be around and obviously, so much fun”.

TV host and consumer expert Martin Lewis wrote: Quite shocked and saddened to wake up to the news of Paul O’Grady passing. #RipPaulOgrady. A funny man, with incredibly quick wit, who made millions laugh.”

Actor John Barrowman added: “I am totally shocked and sad to hear the awful news that Paul O’Grady has died. An awesome talent stretching decades. From watching him as Lily Savage at the Vauxhall Tavern to sitting with him laughing backstage at West End Bares to being a guest on his @itv Paul O’Grady show numerous times.

“I will never forget his generosity, warmth and humour. Both Scott and I are really sad about the news and our thoughts are with his husband André and family. Rest in peace Paul and Lily. Both British Icons. #PaulOGrady #RipPaulOgrady.”

See more tributes below.

This is a developing story – check back for updates on NME.COM



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