The late, great, Paul O’Grady spent his final few moments smoking a spliff, his widower Andre Portasio has revealed.
The surprising admission came as Andre and Paul’s loved ones gathered together in a memorial service on Wednesday to commemorate his life, as he told guests in attendance: “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.”
Looking back at his life in the moving service, Andre also shared a string of anecdotes — some outrageous — as guests laughed affectionately about Paul and his lasting legacy for always making people smile.
Andre’s admission comes just seven months on since the much loved TV star died back in March 2023, in a death that devastated fans not only in the UK but around the world.
Paul died of a sudden cardiac arrhythmia earlier this year, at the end of a gruelling seven month long work schedule that had left him feeling more than a little exhausted.
Although unexpected, Paul’s death was described as “peaceful” as it took place at his home in Kent, where he and Andre resided together.
The star was famously laid to rest with a private funeral service at St Rumwold’s Church in the village of Bonnington in Kent, before mourners went to a special wake at Port Lympne Safari Park.
The service featured a series of personal tributes to the entertainer, including a bronze statue of his beloved late dog Buster that had been placed on a leopard-print throw.
A photograph of a smiling O’Grady was placed at the front of the Grade I listed parish church surrounded by arrangements of lilies in a nod to his drag alter ego, Lily Savage.
In addition, at last month’s National Television Awards, Paul was honoured posthumously with a special memorial tribute, in which a montage of his iconic career was played for guests in attendance and viewers at home.
Speaking ahead of the montage, host Joel Dommett commented: “Here at the National Television Awards we wanted to remember someone very special, the one and only Paul O’Grady.
“Nominated an astonishing 28 times for an NTA, his first nearly 30 years ago, his career came in many guises and no matter what he did, there was always kindness coupled with a unique sense of fun that won over audiences in an instant.”
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