It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Paul O’Grady, a beloved British television icon and a figurehead who has touched countless lives. He was 67 years old.
Unexpectedly, on Tuesday evening, the beloved celebrity and drag queen Lily Savage passed away. His husband Andre Portasio informed the PA Media news agency.
In a statement issued to PA, Portasio declared: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening.
“We ask, at this difficult time, that whilst you celebrate his life you also respect our privacy as we come to terms with this loss.
“He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals, and all those who enjoyed his humor, wit, and compassion.
“I know that he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years.”
An outpouring of admiration for O’Grady emerged from the entertainment industry.
“Doctor Who” John Barrowman wrote on Twitter, “I am totally shocked and sad to hear the awful news that Paul O’Grady has died. An awesome talent stretching decades.”
He added: “I will never forget his generosity, warmth and humor.”
Piers Morgan wrote on Twitter: “RIP Paul O’Grady, 67.
“A wonderfully warm, mischievous, hilarious guy with a sublime natural talent for broadcasting and making people laugh.”
Hailing from Birkenhead, a small town located near Liverpool in England’s North, O’Grady experienced an explosive rise to fame during the 90s as Lily Savage; the brash and candid drag queen.
In 1997, “The Lily Savage Show” briefly aired on the BBC before Paul O’Grady assumed hosting duties for the revived version of BBC gameshow “Blankety Blank.” The show ran until 2002 and was a huge hit among viewers.
Two years on, Paul O’Grady moved to ITV with his own show. He and the production were then snatched up by rival Channel 4 in a remarkable transfer deal.
After the passing of his cherished friend Cilla Black, he took on hosting “Blind Date” in 2017, one of many television credits to his name.
Over the course of his career, O’Grady was honored with numerous awards including a TV BAFTA and in 2008 he was awarded an MBE for services to entertainment.
Being an ardent admirer of animals, Portasio and he cohabitated in a farmhouse surrounded by four dogs, goats, chickens, sheep and barn owls. This idyllic animal sanctuary was reported to PA news agency.
Last year, O’Grady took the reins of ITV’s “For The Love Of Dogs.” This groundbreaking one-off special featured none other than Camilla, Queen Consort as a guest star to celebrate Battersea Dogs and Cats Home’s 160th anniversary – an association for which he served as an ambassador.
Paying homage, the royal family took to its official Twitter account to express: “Deeply saddened to hear of the death of Paul O’Grady, who worked closely with Her Majesty in support of
@Battersea_, providing lots of laughter and many waggy-tailed memories.”