Amanda Holden is under fire after her controversial comments regarding Paul O’Grady following his death aged sixty-seven.
In a statement, O’Grady’s husband, Andre Portasio, confirmed his tragic passing.
“It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening,” he wrote.
“He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humour, wit and compassion.
“I know that he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years.”
It was previously reported, per The Mirror, that the star had been suffering from illness during his final year at Radio 2, as well as that he had suffered 2 heart attacks.
Former star of The Avengers Linda Thorson, a close friend of O’Grady’s, opened up about the details of the star’s passing during a tearful interview with Good Morning Britain.
She revealed that she had spoken to the star just a few hours before his death.
“I can’t believe it. Just to hang up the phone and hours later, for someone to die who was so happy, full of life,” she said.
“But he died in his own bed, his husband Andre was there who he’s been with for so many years,” Thorson continued.
O’Grady first rose to fame during the 1990s with his drag act and alter ego, the iconic Lily Savage. As Savage, he presented many well-known TV shows including Blankety Blank and The Big Breakfast. Savage was so well loved that she even got her own show, Lily Live!, in 2000.
Later on in his life, he became a mainstay of early evening TV with his The Paul O’Grady Show that ran for a whopping fifteen seasons throughout the 2000s.
He then went on to star in Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs, set at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home that has been a fan favourite since it first hit screens in 2012.
The animal shelter paid tribute to the star, with their chief executive Peter Laurie saying, per LADBible: “Battersea will forever remember Paul as a devoted animal lover with the biggest heart, who fell head over heels in love with every dog he met at our centres.
“Paul will always be associated with Battersea and we are truly saddened to have lost such a true friend and huge part of our charity.”
However, the tribute from O’Grady’s fellow Battersea ambassador, Amanda Holden, did not land well with fans, who have deemed her comments ‘offensive’.
Per The Mirror, the Britain’s Got Talent presenter spoke of the late presenter on Heart Radio yesterday morning, admitting that O’Grady’s death had left. her “completely shocked.”
“Do you know what I loved about him? He was not woke in any way. He had massive opinions on everything, which I love people like that,” she said.
She added that the star was “really really funny, very witty. Everything that came out of his mouth was brilliant.”
Fans have taken to social media to slam her comments claiming that the star, who was known for his commitments to social justice, “was not woke in any way.”
One person said: “‘He didn’t have a woke bone in his body’. That would be the drag artist, AIDS campaigner, LGBTQ+ hero and anti austerity critic Paul O’Grady.”
Another tweeted: “The man was a queer activist, trailblazer and unapologetic drag queen on prime time TV when being gay was seen as dirty. What about that isn’t woke?”
While a third said: “I can’t work out whether she doesn’t know what woke means, or simply doesn’t know who Paul O’Grady is.”
O’Grady himself even thought he was ‘woke’, telling The Sun in 2020: “”I’m married to a ballet dancer, I’ve got a daughter, two grandkids and was married to a Portuguese lesbian barmaid. It doesn’t get much more woke.”