Paul O’Grady died at the age of 67, according to his partner Andre Portasio.
According to a statement provided to the PA news agency by a representative, the TV host and comedian died “unexpectedly but peacefully” on Tuesday evening.
“It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening,” Mr Portasio said in his statement.
“We ask that, while you celebrate his life, you also respect our privacy as we come to terms with this loss.”
“He will be sorely missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals, and everyone who appreciated his wit, humour, and compassion.”
“I’m sure he’d want me to thank you for all of the love you’ve shown him over the years.”
O’Grady and Portasio married in a low-key wedding ceremony in 2017.
He hosted The Paul O’Grady Show, Blind Date, and Blankety Blank, as well as ITV’s multi-award-winning For The Love Of Dogs.
He also hosted Paul O’Grady’s Saturday Night Line Up, an ITV celebrity game show.
O’Grady took over as host of the Channel 5 reboot of Blind Date from the show’s long-running presenter and close friend Cilla Black, who died in 2015.
He was well-known for his drag queen alter ego, Lily Savage.
In 2022, he was joined by the Queen Consort in a special one-off episode of For The Love Of Dogs to commemorate the 160th anniversary of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, an organisation for which he was an ambassador.
O’Grady clearly loved animals, and he and Portasio shared a farmhouse in Kent with four dogs, goats, sheep, chickens, and barn owls.
During the coronavirus lockdown, he wrote his first children’s book, Eddie Albert And The Amazing Animal Gang, which was published in September 2021.
He presented his final BBC Radio 2 show in August 2022, after hosting the Sunday afternoon show for nearly 14 years.
O’Grady was going to return to the airwaves next month to host a one-off Easter Sunday radio show on Boom Radio.
ITV presenter Lorraine Kelly described O’Grady as “a really special man” in an online tribute.
“Such sad news. Paul O’Grady – funny, fearless, brave, kind and wise. Will be sorely missed. A really special man.”
Replying to another Twitter user, she added: “I always think dogs are the best judge of character and they ADORED him.”
Such sad news. Paul O’Grady – funny, fearless, brave, kind and wise. Will be sorely missed. A really special man.
— Lorraine (@reallorraine) March 29, 2023
Paul O’Grady was born in Birkenhead, on the Wirral, Merseyside.
His mother’s maiden name was Savage which is believed to have inspired his famous drag alter ego.
He began his career performing as Lily Savage in the 1970s whilst working as a peripatetic care officer for Camden Council, going on to tour northern England as part of drag duo the Playgirls.
He later settled into a solo show as Savage that ran for eight years at London’s Royal Vauxhall Tavern, and made a name for himself speaking out about LGBT issues.
O’Grady’s career as Savage took off with TV and radio appearances in character and he was eventually asked to take over from Paula Yates as The Big Breakfast presenter as Savage from 1995 to 1996.
For a short run in 1997, he took on chat show The Lily Savage Show for the BBC and later that year had success as the host of a revived version of gameshow Blankety Blank, which ran until 2002.
The Paul O’Grady Show aired on ITV from 2004 to 2005 before it moved to Channel 4 as The New Paul O’Grady Show.
O’Grady won numerous accolades throughout his career including a TV Bafta, a British Comedy Award, and a National Television Award for The Paul O’Grady Show.
He was made an MBE in the 2008 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to entertainment and attended the ceremony with his daughter Sharyn Mousley.