Paul O’Grady’s husband Andre Portasio shares emotional tribute on late star’s birthday

Paul O'Grady with husband Andre Portasio who has revealed funeral details.

Andre Portasio has posted a touching message to his husband Paul O’Grady on the late star’s birthday.

Beloved TV personality Paul O’Grady, who rose to fame for his daring drag alter ego Lily Savage, died at his Kent home ‘unexpectedly but peacefully’ aged 67 on 28 March.

His husband of five years, Andre Portasio, announced the tragic news in a statement and later organised a public procession during his funeral on 20 April, for fans to pay their respects to the LGBTQ+ trailblazer.

Now, Portasio, who met O’Grady in 2006 before the couple finally tied the knot in a secret star-studded wedding in 2017, has shared his own beautiful tribute to mark O’Grady’s 68th birthday on Wednesday (14 June).

Taking to Instagram on 15 June, the professional ballet dancer posted two images, one with O’Grady holding a birthday cake, and the second of the loved-up couple on a sunny beach holiday.

“HAPPY HEAVENLY BIRTHDAY,” he wrote in the caption. “Myself and the dogs miss you lots and we can only wish you were here with us. Love you always Paul O’Grady.”

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Images from Andre Portasio's Instagram birthday post for Paul O'Grady. (Instagram/Andre Portasio)
Images from Andre Portasio’s Instagram birthday post for Paul O’Grady. (Instagram/andre_portasio)

Portasio received an outpouring of love and support in the comments, with British actor Cheryl Fergison writing: “Love to you on this day Andre … Wishing the boy a happy birthday and hugs for you and the pooches.”

“Thinking of you,” another commented, “it still doesn’t feel real so God only knows how you feel.”

“He looks so happy. You both look so happy. Lovely photos. Thank you for being such a wonderful loving husband. Hope he is enjoying his cake in his heavenly place,” another Instagram user wrote.

Battersea Dogs and Cats home, the charity that O’Grady worked closely with throughout his life, also paid tribute to the star on his birthday.

“Today, on his birthday, we celebrate our late Ambassador Paul O’Grady,” the animal charity wrote on Twitter. “Paul was a lover of animals, an LGBT icon, and a dear friend of Battersea. Paul will always be remembered as a hero to us and to rescue animals everywhere.”

The rescue centre also provided a group of dogs from the home as a guard of honour at his funeral ceremony in April.

It’s not the first time Portasio has posted an emotional commemoration for his late husband. In a post thanking people for their condolences on 30 March, Portasio shared the last holiday photo they ever took together, showing the couple sitting together on a boat in the middle of the sea.

“I much appreciate you all taking the time to reach out,” he wrote at the time. “I’m so very touched and I’m sure Paul would be too!

“Browsing for a picture I found the last picture we ever took together. Unbeknownst to us back in January this would be our last ever holiday together.”

O’Grady passed away midway through his stint as Miss Hannigan in the UK tour of the musical Annie and days after signing a new contract with Boom Radio station.

His memory continues to be commemorated in the TV world with a joyous cameo during the Eurovision coverage.

ITV also aired a touching tribute documentary while season 11 of Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs is being released posthumously every week.