Paul O'Grady, TV presenter and comedian, dies aged 67

29 March 2023, 08:16 | Updated: 29 March 2023, 11:57

Paul O'Grady, TV presenter and comedian, dies aged 67
Paul O'Grady, TV presenter and comedian, dies aged 67. Picture: Getty

By Sian Moore

The beloved TV presenter hosted famous shows such as Blankety Blank, Blind Date and The Paul O'Grady Show, in a career that spanned three decades.

Paul O'Grady has died at the age of 67, his partner has confirmed

Andre Portasio, the star's husband of six years, said he died "unexpectedly but peacefully" on Tuesday evening.

"It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening," Portasio announced.

"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."

The 15th BRIT Awards with Britannia Music Club
The 15th BRIT Awards with Britannia Music Club. Picture: Getty

The statement continued: "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."

The comedian and broadcaster rose to fame in the 1990s with his drag queen persona Lily Savage.

O'Grady dropped the character in the 2000s and went on to host a variety of television and radio shows, including The Paul O'Grady Show, Blind Date and For The Love Of Dogs.

National Television Awards - Winners Boards
National Television Awards - Winners Boards. Picture: Getty

Tributes have poured in for the beloved TV star.

This included from the Royal Family, with Queen Consort Camilla paying tribute to her friend on Twitter:

Elton John took to Instagram to write: "Saddening news to hear of Paul O'Grady's passing this morning.

"A brilliant entertainer, wit, and supporter of LGBTQ+ rights and the fight against AIDS and HIV who I was fortunate enough to spend time with including when he hosted @davidfurnish's and my Stag Party before our Civil Partnership in 2005."

Elton added: "Thank you for all the joy you brought into the world, Paul. You went places nobody had gone before and we will miss you very much."

Smooth Radio presenter Tina Hobley wrote: "Our darling Paul ❤️ kindest most beautiful soul ❤️ and the naughtiest ❤️until we laugh again dearest Paul. 💙"

Heart Radio presenter Amanda Holden shared a photograph of the pair to her Instagram, writing: "Woken up to this sad, sad news.

"I loved Paul. He was brilliantly opinionated ,searingly sharp and very funny.. I loved our conversations.. I can’t quite believe it. Thoughts with Andre and their family."

Lorraine Kelly took to social media, describing O'Grady as the "kindest, funniest man".

She added: "Dogs are the best judge of character and they LOVED him."