Paul O’Grady’s partner cradles his beloved dog in funeral procession

Paul O’Grady's devastated partner Andre Portasio cradled one of his beloved pet dogs as he rode as part of the late entertainer's funeral cortege as it travelled through the village of Aldington.

Andre was visibly emotional as he saw the outpouring of love and grief for his husband of five years, after locals in the village were invited to line the streets as the cortege passed.

TV legend Paul, who famously portrayed the drag act Lily Savage, passed away "unexpectedly but peacefully" aged 67 on March 28 at home with Andre. His cause of death was later revealed to be 'sudden cardiac arrhythmia".

Sudden cardiac arrhythmia is when someone dies unexpectedly after going into cardiac arrest. It affects around 500 people a year in the UK.

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Paul met Andre, a ballet dancer who was previously a number of the English National Ballet, around 2005 and the pair enjoyed an 11 year courtship before getting married in 2017.

Paul's grief-stricken celebrity pals turned up in their droves for the funeral of the late star, including Lorraine Kelly, Vernon Kay, John Barrowman, Ronnie and Sally Wood, Gaby Roslin and lots more to show their respect for the loss of a true icon.

Ahead of the private service at Adlington church, fans of the late comic and presenter lined the streets to pay their respects – dogs and all.

Many of people's tributes noted Paul's decades-long love of animals and his advocacy work for Battersea Dogs and Cats home in particular.

A local cafe was giving out tea and coffee to members of the public, with the request that they donated to Battersea Dogs and Cats home, of which Paul was a proud patron.

Many personal notes have been left outside the church attached to wreaths of lilies ahead of the private funeral service.

Paul's daughter Sharyn heartbreakingly wrote in her note: “Gongan, we miss you so much, Abel and Halo will never forget you. Your little teddy is with you. I love you.”

In his statement on March 29 announcing Paul's death Andre said: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening.”

“We ask, at this difficult time, that whilst you celebrate his life you also respect our privacy as we come to terms with this loss.

“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.”

During Paul's career, 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.


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