Paul O’Grady dead: Susanna Reid fights back tears

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Susanna Reid and Martin Lewis were left fighting back tears as they paid tribute to Paul O’Grady, after the legendary comedian died aged 67.

The LGBT+ rights activist and animal lover died ‘unexpectedly but peacefully’ on Tuesday evening, with his partner Andre Portasio asking fans to ‘celebrate his life’.

‘I know that he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years,’ he said in a statement.

Tributes have been pouring in for the TV star, who was also known for his drag queen persona Lily Savage, including from the likes of Lorraine Kelly and Carol Vorderman.

Hosting Wednesday’s Good Morning Britain, Susanna and Martin paid tribute to O’Grady, looking tearful as they did.

She said: ‘We’re going to remember Paul O’Grady throughout the morning of course.’

Paul O’Grady died aged 67 (Picture: Ken McKay/Shutterstock)
Susanna fought back tears remembering him (Picture: ITV)

Martin added: ‘The thing about Paul, and I hope people forgive me for saying this.

‘You don’t know whether to smile or be sad right now, I’m torn between those two emotions because he was such a funny man and when you think about him it makes you smile he was funny, and then you remember he’s gone.’

‘You can acknowledge the humour and the love and compassion that he brought at the same time, as we mourn his loss, far too early,’ Susanna added.

She later recalled the first time O’Grady had appeared on Good Morning Britain, and remembered when he first spoke about his health issues.

He was remembered for his ‘glitter and grit’ (Picture: PA)

‘We interviewed him on the sofa about having a heart attack, cardiac arrest and leaving it before telling a doctor, almost like he didn’t want to bother anybody about it,’ she told viewers.

Later on the programme, entertainment correspondent Richard Arnold remembered O’Grady’s ‘glitter and grit’.

He said: ‘There’s a lot of friends who will be waking up this morning, and many of you tuning in at home, who will be deeply saddened and shocked by this news.’

‘Just looking back there, so many fond memories,’ he continued, recalling the first time he met O’Grady.

‘Back in 1990, he was dressed as Lily Savage in a frock selling ice creams outside a venue, that I was the front of house manager for.’

‘I looked up, and of course it was this handsome man standing there, but I’d only ever seen Paul as Lily,’ Richard explained.

‘I think it’s impossible to overestimate what a trailblazer he was,’ adding that ‘trailblazer doesn’t really do justice’.

‘A man with glitter and grit coursing through his veins.’

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Elsewhere on the programme, guests including actor Nigel Havers and campaigner Peter Tatchell paid tribute to O’Grady.

‘He’s the only person that I’ve ever seen make Julian Clary a corpse on stage, was Paul O’Grady.

‘Julian would become speechless which is very unusual for him.

‘And they were very very close friends, and they lived next door to each other for a while.’

Susanna replied: ‘There’s a huge number of people for whom they did not see this coming.

‘When I mentioned the dogs of course, it was his programme, The Love Of Dogs, multi-award winning, and you know why, because it was just so popular, so warmhearted.

‘And of course he had to resist the temptation everytime he filmed it to take home one of the dogs.’

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV1.

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