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EXCLUSIVE: Claire Sweeney says she was “left shocked” by Paul O’Grady’s SHOCK death 

BROOKSIDE icon Claire Sweeney was left “shocked” at Paul O’Grady‘s unexpected death, and she has paid tribute to her “unique” friend.

The former ‘Brookside’ star has paid tribute to the legendary comedian – who shot to fame with his drag queen persona Lily Savage in the 1990s – following his passing aged 67 on Tuesday.

Speaking to Politicalite over the weekend – Sweeney, who appeared on Late Night Lycett last Friday revealed: “I’m just shocked.”

“It was so unexpected. I mean he was doing Annie last week and suddenly he’s gone.”

“He was so fantastic and unique and lovely. He’s going to be so missed. I’ve never heard a single bad word about him. He really was, and is, a legend.

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“He was doing it when not many people were standing up for the [LGBTQ+] community. He was there and he didn’t care. I just think he’s wonderful, absolutely wonderful. He had no fear. To go, ‘I’m a big star, I’ve got my own TV show as Lily Savage’ and then suddenly go ‘right I want to be me now’, that takes courage.” 

Paul gained notability in the London gay scene during the 1980s and became a gay icon for his revolutionary impact on drag, thanks to his foul-mouthed, chain smoking alter ego. 

Danny Beard, who won the fourth season of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’, recently spoke about his sadness following the death of an icon. 

He told ‘BBC Breakfast’: “I don’t think there’s anyone who does the job that I do that doesn’t class Paul as an icon. 

“Paul was a trailblazer, they were on telly just after the AIDS crisis. They’ve been the most important person, I think, in British culture for drag, for the queer community. This is a really sad loss.”

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