UK TV presenter and comedian Paul O’Grady has died at the age of 67.
He died “unexpectedly but peacefully” on Tuesday evening, his husband Andre Portasio announced.
O’Grady rose to fame on the British comedy circuit playing the drag queen Lily Savage, and went on to present many TV, stage and BBC radio shows and documentaries about animals.
“He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humour, wit and compassion,” his husband Andre said.
“I know that he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years.”
A devoted animal lover, Paul dedicated much of his life to promoting the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
“He was a champion for the underdog and would do anything to ensure all animals live a healthy and happy life. He will be dearly missed,” said Battersea chief executive Peter Laurie in a tribute this morning.
“Battersea will forever remember Paul as a devoted animal lover with the biggest heart, who fell head over heels in love with every dog he met at our centres.
“Paul will always be associated with Battersea and we are truly saddened to have lost such a true friend and huge part of our charity.”
Tributes are pouring in for O’Grady following the sad news of his passing.
O’Grady was described as a “really special man” by ITV’s Lorraine Kelly. “Such sad news. Paul O’Grady – funny, fearless, brave, kind and wise,” she tweeted. “Will be sorely missed.”