In a heartfelt memorial event attended by renowned LGBTQ+ figures and entertainment industry stars, Andre Portasio, the husband of the late TV presenter and beloved gay icon Paul O’Grady, opened up about their last moments together. Paul O’Grady, known for his groundbreaking drag persona Lily Savage, passed away unexpectedly and peacefully at the age of 67 due to cardiac arrhythmia syndrome in March. His funeral, including a public procession, drew tributes from across the LGBTQ+ and entertainment community.
A Last Ordinary Day
During the emotional gathering, Portasio revealed the simple yet intimate nature of their final hours together. He recounted an ordinary day spent at their Kent home, watching TV, and sharing a private code. Portasio explained, “We’d had a very ordinary day, just watching TV together at home when Paul said he wanted to make a ‘cup of tea,’ and that was our little code for rolling a spliff.” As Paul went to the kitchen to prepare the symbolic tea, it marked the beginning of their last shared moment. Portasio continued, “So Paul went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, brought it back, lit it and started smoking it – and that was our last time together, the last thing we did. He passed away there in his chair.”
Their love story, which culminated in a wedding in 2017, celebrated its sixth anniversary in August. Portasio, reflecting on their time together, shared a touching post commemorating their bond. He expressed, “It’s been five months since he passed away, leaving a massive void that words can hardly describe. Yet, as I reflect on the 18 beautiful years we spent together, I cherish the memories that brought immense happiness into my life.” Portasio described Paul as his rock, confidant, and partner in every adventure, emphasizing the extraordinary nature of their journey together.
Paul O’Grady’s impact on the entertainment world and his advocacy for animals received posthumous recognition. His ITV series “For the Love of Dogs” earned an award for Factual Entertainment Programme at the National Television Awards in September. Representatives from the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, where the show was filmed, accepted the award on his behalf, highlighting his enduring legacy in making a difference.
In remembering Paul O’Grady, the LGBTQ+ community and the world at large continue to honor his pioneering spirit, dedication, and the profound love shared with his husband, Andre Portasio.