Eurovision winner Mans Zelmerlow thanks his gay fans

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The winner of the Eurovision Song Contest has thanked his gay fans for accepting his apology – after he made purportedly homophobic comments.

Mans Zelmerlow emerged as the winner of the notoriously camp contest on Saturday, edging out Russia’s Polina Gagarina at the show in Vienna.

The singer caused controversy in Sweden in 2014 – after claiming that gay sex is unnatural on a celebrity cooking show.

Mr Zelmerlöw had stunned other guests into silence by calling homosexuality abnormal, claiming  “it isn’t equally natural for men to want to sleep with one another”.

However, the singer apologised extensively for his comments and worked with Swedish LGBT groups.

In a winners’ press conference after taking the trophy, he addressed the controversy again – thanking his gay fans for looking past his comments.

He said: “Given all that’s been the past year… from the second I came down here I felt welcomed.

“This has been such a discussion over the past year, like just after I won [Swedish selection show] Melodifestivalen, but it felt like all of that was gone.

“It felt like people had actually accepted my apologies and believed in what I said, which was great. I thank the gay community.”

The singer also paid tribute to equality on stage after being crowned the winner, saying: “I’m so extremely happy. I want to thank all of you for voting and supporting me.

“I just want to say that we are all heroes, no matter who we love, who we are or what we believe in. We are all heroes.”