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Paul O'Grady dies, aged 67

Paul O'Grady dies, aged 67
© BBC
Entertainment legend Paul O'Grady dies "unexpectedly but peacefully" at the age of 67.

Entertainment legend Paul O'Grady has died "unexpectedly but peacefully" at the age of 67, his partner Andre Portasio has announced.

The star came to prominence in the 1980s with his drag alter-ego Lily Savage, who then broke into the mainstream as a presenter of shows including Blankety Blank, The Big Breakfast and The Lily Savage Show.

O'Grady went on to host his own hugely-popular daytime chat show, which ran for 15 series on ITV and Channel 4, the long-running Paul O'Grady: For the Love of Dogs and a short-lived revival of Blind Date for Channel 5.

Portasio said in a statement: "It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has 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 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 was not known to be in ill health prior to his death although he did have a history of heart problems, having suffered heart attacks in 2002 and 2006, while in 2013 he underwent heart surgery following an angina attack.

Earlier this month he completed a short stint playing the role of Miss Hannigan in Annie in Newcastle and had been due to present a show on Boom Radio this Easter.

O'Grady is survived by daughter Sharon, a grandson and a granddaughter.

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