While Britain mourns the loss of TV star Paul O'Grady, who has died 'unexpectedly' at the age of 67, it's not just his husband who is grieving the loss at home - as he has also left behind his five beloved rescue dogs.
O'Grady's death was confirmed by husband Andre Portasio, who said in a statement released just before 3am today (Wednesday 29 March): "It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening.
"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."
As well as hosting the likes of The Paul O’Grady Show, Blind Date and Blankety Blank and ITV celebrity game show, Paul O’Grady’s Saturday Night Line Up, he also presented ITV’s multi-award-winning For The Love Of Dogs - his love for animals well known.
The star lived with Portasio in a farmhouse in Kent alongside a menagerie of pets including four dogs, goats, sheep, chickens and barn owls.
He was also an ambassador for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, which has paid tribute to the 'devoted animal lover', saying he was a 'champion for the underdog'.
The organisation’s chief executive, Peter Laurie, said: “Battersea will forever remember Paul as a devoted animal lover with the biggest heart, who fell head over heels in love with every dog he met at our centres.
“Paul will always be associated with Battersea and we are truly saddened to have lost such a true friend and huge part of our charity.”
Last year, O'Grady helped celebrate 160 years of the organisation when he was joined by the Queen Consort in a special one-off episode of For The Love Of Dogs.
Tributes have been pouring in since the sudden news of his passing, with presenter Lorraine Kelly saying: "Such sad news. Paul O’Grady - funny, fearless, brave, kind and wise. Will be sorely missed. A really special man."
Carol Vorderman asked 'what are we meant to do without you?', adding: "Already giving them raucous, ripping up the rulebook, mischief making, calling it out, loving hell in heaven."
Meanwhile, producer Tom Wright tweeted: "Before Drag Race and social media it was rare for queens to break through into mainstream media, Paul was one of the few leading the way and smashing down barriers. Everyone loved him, but he preferred animals. RIP Paul O’Grady AKA the legendary Lily Savage, you will be missed."
O'Grady's longtime friend Malcolm Prince also said he was visited by the comedian just yesterday, saying the world has lost a 'unique talent'.
Prince said: "I popped round to Paul's for a good old catch-up. Surrounded by his beloved dogs, he was laughing smiling and full of life. He was looking forward to so many new projects.
"And now he's gone I can't believe it. We have lost a unique talent - and I've lost a dear friend. We were all lucky to have Paul in our lives.
"My heart goes out to Andre, Paul's family, and friends. Oh how I'll miss him."Featured Image Credit: ITV