TV presenter and comedian Paul O’Grady has died peacefully aged 67.
In a statement today his partner Andre Partisio said: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening.
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.”
He is perhaps best known and loved for his drag persona of Lily Savage, the foul-mouthed bleached blonde, aka the “Birkenhead bombshell”.
During the 80s and 90s, he regularly entertained gay audiences, especially in south London’s Royal Vauxhall Tavern where he had a residency.
During the height of the AIDS crisis, he regularly stood up for the gay community when others were silent, and was a vigorous supporter of LGBTQ+ rights.
He moved into the mainstream with performances on shows as The Bill, Blankety Blank, and replaced Paul Yates a presenter on The Big Breakfast.
He gave up the role of Lily in 2001, only reappearing as her charity appearance.
He then went to great acclaim presenting shows such as The Paul O’Grady Show and the award-winning For The Love of Dogs.