Paul O’Grady’s husband Andre Portasio recounts star’s finals hours: ‘Our last time together’
Paul O’Grady’s widower Andre Portasio has shared details of the couple’s last hours together during a memorial event for the late TV presenter and beloved gay icon.
O’Grady passed away “unexpectedly and peacefully” in March from cardiac arrhythmia syndrome, aged 67.
The funeral, which included a public mourning procession, took place in April, with tributes pouring in for O’Grady – who found fame as their trailblazing drag persona Lily Savage – from across the LGBTQ+ and entertainment world.
Most recently, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home (with whom O’Grady had strong and long-lasting ties as an ambassador) announced their veterinary hospital would be named after the TV personality.
During an emotional memorial event on Wednesday (18 October), attended by O’Grady’s famous friends such as Alan Carr, Dawn French and Amanda Holden, the star’s husband revealed how he spent his final hours at their home in Kent.
According to the Sun, Portasio said: “We’d had a very ordinary day, just watching TV together at home, when Paul said he wanted to make a ‘cup of tea,’ and that was our little code for rolling a spliff.
“So Paul went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, brought it back, lit it and started smoking it – and that was our last time together, the last thing we did. He passed away there in his chair.”
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O’Grady was starring Miss Hannigan on the UK-wide tour of the musical Annie at the time.
Portasio, who tied the knot with O’Grady in 2017, marked what would have been the couple’s sixth wedding anniversary in August with a touching post of the two on their wedding day.
“It’s been five months since he passed away, leaving a massive void that words can hardly describe,” he wrote in the caption. “Yet, as I reflect on the 18 beautiful years we spent together, I cherish the memories that brought immense happiness into my life.
“Paul was my rock, my confidant, and my partner in every adventure. Our journey together was nothing short of extraordinary.”
O’Grady saw posthumous recognition for his ITV series For the Love of Dogs at the National Television Awards in September, winning an award for Factual Entertainment Programme.
Representatives from the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home – where the show is filmed – accepted on his behalf.
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