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Paul O’Grady’s Cause of Death

A statement shared by family at the time of Paul’s death revealed the Lily Savage star had died ‘unexpectedly but peacefully’ and the official death certificate later confirmed that Paul died from sudden cardiac arrhythmia.

The British Heart Foundation describes sudden arrhythmic death syndrome – or SADS – as person dying suddenly following a cardiac arrest and no obvious cause can be found. Paul had spoken openly about his battles with heart disease and having endured three heart attacks before the age of 65.

His death certificate, obtained by the Daily Express, showed long-time friend and former PA and agent, Joan Marshrons, registered the entertainer’s death six days after he died at home.

Fans were left shocked by the sudden news of Paul’s passing, which was announced midway through his UK tour of musical Annie and just days after he signed a new contract with Boom Radio station.

Paul’s husband Andre Portasio said the loss had come as ‘unexpectedly’ to his loved ones as he made the devastating news public on social media.

“It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening,” Andre penned at the time.

“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.” Paul had previously joked he was ‘counting his blessings’ in regards to his health and said it would be a ‘miracle’ if he reached 60.

“I don’t fear anything nowadays,” he previously told The Mirror. “There has to be an angel out there. They are trying to steer me out of trouble 24 hours a day.” Revealing the history of heart disease in his family, Paul said he had been ‘expecting’ his first heart attack in 2002.

“I’d sort of been waiting for it… all of our family has died of heart disease. But I never thought I wasn’t going to make it. God, no.” Paul experienced a second attack in 2006 as he shopped in Waitrose.

The Lily Savage star said he thought ‘I’ll be ok in a minute’, and so headed home, made himself ice cream and meatloaf before taking painkillers.

In January 2014, O’Grady spoke out a third heart scare, telling The Mirror: “I’d rather live life to the full, even if that’s five or 10 years. That’s better to me than sitting at home and living for 30 years.”

He also spoke about knowing that smoking was contributing to his ailing health. “I’ve always said I have two great loves, Benson and Hedges, so it’s not been easy quitting,” he once quipped.

Paul O’Grady’s Great Elephant Adventure is a two-part documentary will be shown on ITV over Easter and follows Paul as he travels across Thailand and Laos to get stuck in helping out at elephant rescue centres caring for the majestic, but endangered, animals.

The show’s executive producer, and longtime friend of Paul, Claire Barton said: “Paul wanted to highlight the plight of elephants, which fascinated him throughout his life. Little did we know that this would be the last TV series Paul would film before his death last year.

“One of my abiding memories is of Paul encircled by a herd of excited mature elephants, mud splattered on his face and clothes, laughing as he was almost knocked to the ground, before being given an elephant’s tail hug. ‘This is heaven!’ he exclaims.” This series follows Paul as he celebrates the wonderful work done by elephant conservation centres to rescue, rehabilitate and protect these most majestic, but vulnerable, of animals. Filming took place on location for a month in December 2022, but it was only edited and fully completed in the days before he died.

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