File photo of British TV stars Paul O'Grady and Cilla Black sharing a funny moment.
File photo of British TV stars Paul O'Grady and Cilla Black sharing a funny moment. Image Credit: AP

Entertainer Paul O’Grady, who was a much-loved comedian and host on British television, has died. He was 67.

Britain’s queen consort, who worked with O’Grady to support animal charities, led tributes to a performer who became a national treasure.

O’Grady’s family said he died “unexpectedly but peacefully” on Tuesday evening.

“He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humor, wit and compassion,” Andre Portasio, a family member, said in a statement.

Born in Birkenhead, near Liverpool, in 1955, O’Grady started working as a local-authority care worker when and became a fixture as a standup and talent-show host at London’s Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

He moved into television in the 1990s, including a stint hosting talk show ‘The Lily Savage Show’.

Later, O’Grady hosted talk shows and gameshows, including ‘The Paul O’Grady Show’, ‘Blind Date’ and ‘Blankety Blank’, as well as a long-running programme on BBC radio.

An animal lover, he also presented ‘For the Love of Dogs’, which profiled the work of the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, an animal rescue charity. Camilla, the queen consort, was a guest on the show last year.

The official royal family Twitter account posted a picture of O’Grady and Camilla with the message: “Deeply saddened to hear of the death of Paul O’Grady, who worked closely with Her Majesty in support of @Battersea_, providing lots of laughter and many waggy-tailed memories.”

O’Grady is survived by Portasio and by a daughter from a previous relationship.