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 said in a statement.
O’Grady rose to fame in the 1990s with his drag queen persona Lily Savage, going on to present BBC One game show Blankety Blank and other light entertainment programmes.
Later in his career, he went on to host a number of chat shows, and also brought his love of dogs to the screen.
“It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening,” Mr Portasio said.
“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.”
A statement released on behalf of Queen Consort, Camilla, she was “deeply saddened to have learned of the death of Paul O’Grady, with whom she worked closely to support the work of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and whose warm heart and infectious humour lit up the lives of so many”.
A spokesperson she will be “sharing her sympathies with Paul’s family privately in due course”.
He had recently been on tour playing Miss Hannigan in the musical Annie.
Writing on Instagram a few weeks ago, after returning from performing in Newcastle, O’Grady said he was “thoroughly enjoying” playing the role again after so long “especially with a truly amazing and lovely cast”.
The broadcaster left his weekly BBC Radio 2 show in August 2022, confirming it was because he was unhappy about sharing his Sunday afternoon slot.
He was due to present on Boom Radio in less than two weeks time for Easter Sunday.
O’Grady’s long-time radio producer Malcolm Prince said he had visited the star at his home on Tuesday afternoon, describing him as “laughing, smiling, and full of life”.
Mr Prince posted on Twitter: “He was so proud of Annie, so happy to be back on Boom Radio, and he was looking forward to so many new projects.
“And now he’s gone. I can’t believe it. We have lost a unique talent – and I’ve lost a dear friend.”
Speaking on her BBC Radio 2 breakfast show on Wednesday, Zoe Ball said: “We’re all heavy of heart here this morning at the news of our dear friend Paul O’Grady. I know he was so loved by the Radio 2 listeners and all of us here.”