Tributes have poured in for comic icon and presenter Paul O’Grady, who has died at the age of 67.
O’Grady, best known for his Liverpudlian drag queen alter-ego Lily Savage, passed away on Tuesday evening (March 28).
His husband Andre Portasio said O’Grady’s passing was “unexpected, but peaceful”.
“It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening,” Portasio said in a statement. 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.”
O’Grady first rose to fame in the ’90s when he hosted Blankety Blankety as acerbic queen Savage, before retiring the character in the early noughties. He went on to have huge success with The Paul O’Grady Show on ITV from 2004 to 2005, before the daytime show moved to Channel 4 from 2006 until 2009.
O’Grady had been on tour playing Miss Hannigan in the musical Annie as recently as last week.
He left his BBC Radio 2 show last year due to scheduling shake-ups and also presented an episode of his hugely popular show The Love Of Dogs in 2022 which featured an appearance by Camilla, Queen Consort.
Paying tribute, ITV chat show host Lorraine Kelly tweeted that O’Grady was a “really special man”. S
She said: “Such sad news. Paul O’Grady – funny, fearless, brave, kind and wise. Will be sorely missed.”
Les Dennis added: “So sad to wake to the news that Paul O’Grady has died. He was a true comedy great and his twinkly, mischievous presence will be missed by so many. RIP dear Paul.”
Comedian Omid Djalili said: “Just coming to terms with the unexpected passing of Paul O’Grady. I don’t think I’ve ever been so immediately enamoured with a personality on a first meeting. He truly elevated the very atmosphere in which he moved. God rest his mighty soul.”
Other tributes came from Save The Children, who praised his campaigning work.
“We’re shocked and saddened to hear the news that our Ambassador Paul O’ Grady has passed away,” they wrote. “We’ll always be thankful for his campaigning on child poverty, providing a voice for the UK’s poorest children. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.”
You can view a wide array of tributes to O’Grady below.