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Paul O’Grady’s husband shares heartbreaking details of how TV star died

Paul O’Grady’s husband shares heartbreaking details of how TV star died

Paul O’Grady’s husband Andre Portasio has shared details of the TV star’s death, one year on.

British presenter and comedian O’Grady died after suffering cardiac arrhythmia on 28 March 2023, aged 67, news of which prompted an outpouring of love from the world of entertainment.

Portasio announced the news, saying O’Grady’s death was “unexpected but peaceful” – and now, a month after the heartwarming sum the ITV host left to his loved ones was revealed, he is reflected on the moment he died in their countryside cottage in Kent.

He described the day O’Grady died as “the most ordinary day”, saying that the star “had come back from touring, so was a little bit tired and woke up really late”.

When Portasio saw him, he was “looking very smart in a white shirt” ahead of a planned meeting with his long-time radio show producer Malcolm Prince. Referencing O’Grady’s dry wit, Portasio added: “I’ll never forget saying to him how handsome he looked, and him joking back, saying ‘F*** off!’”

After walking their five dogs together, the couple settled down together on the sofa, and O’Grady went to get something from the kitchen, before Portasio heard a loud noise.

“He left to get some tea, and I heard this loud bang – but because the house is big and old, I didn’t think of anything at first,” Portasio explained, recalling that the dogs went to investigate. However, Portasio thought nothing of it and suspected O’Grady had gone upstairs.

Portasio said: “I walked to the kitchen to start putting some food on, and I started taking things out of the fridge – and all of a sudden, I could see him lying on the floor. I just didn’t know what to think at first.”

According to Portasio, O’Grady “had a cut on his forehead” from where he had fallen, leading his widow to believe “he was probably just unconscious”.

Andre Portasio found Paul O’Grady unconscious in their countryside home (Dan Wooller/Shutterstock)
Andre Portasio found Paul O’Grady unconscious in their countryside home (Dan Wooller/Shutterstock)

“I called the ambulance and they said the best chance to keep him alive was to do CPR,” Portasio revealed, adding: “I don’t know how long it took for the ambulance to arrive but by the end I was exhausted.”

Portasio remembers one of O’Grady’s favourite dogs, Arfur, nuzzling his owner’s face as he lay unconscious on the floor, “as if to say ‘wake up’.” But when paramedics arrived, they managed to resuscitate O’Grady briefly before pronouncing him dead.

O’Grady and Portasio met in 2006, and married in 2017.

Following his death, O’Grady was remembered as a “force for good” by his famous friends, including Carol Vorderman and Julian Clary.

The TV star’s love for animals was well known, and he had lived in a farmhouse in Kent with Portasio along with a menagerie of animals, including five dogs, goats, sheep, chickens and barn owls.