Paul O’Grady’s funeral will take place at Port Lympne Safari Park, where he was a regular visitor.
The Mail on Sunday may reveal there are plans to mark his life at the reserve, owned by conservationist Damian Aspinall, because those close to him believe he would have wanted the animals he adored ‘close’.
O’Grady lived in the village of Aldington in Kent, just three miles from Port Lympne. His ties to the reserve were so close that he even judged competitions for them.
It is thought that there will be a service at a nearby church before a celebration of the transvestite turned announcer.
A source said: ‘Paul loved Port Lympne. He got to know some of his residents very well and his loved ones thought it would be a nice idea to hold his funeral there, so that they can also attend. The staff hope they can make him proud.’
O’Grady lived in the village of Aldington in Kent, just three miles from Port Lympne
Paul O’Grady’s funeral will take place at Port Lympne Safari Park in Hythe, Kent
Following his death, Port Lympne paid tribute to him on its Instagram page, writing: ‘We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Paul O’Grady – a local supporter of Port Lympne and the work we do. We were very grateful that he came to visit us.’
The 600 acres at Port Lympne are home to more than 900 rare and endangered animals, including monkeys, lions and tigers.
It also features the Port Lympne Mansion Hotel, which has hosted prestigious guests including Sir Winston Churchill and Prince Edward. There is also a restaurant called Babydoll, after the reserve’s beloved gorilla who died in 2018 at the age of 55.
In recent years, the venue has become popular with high-profile visitors, including former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and retired England footballer Rio Ferdinand.
O’Grady died in his bed with husband Andre Portasio by his side on March 28, at the age of 67.
The cause of death was listed yesterday as cardiac arrhythmia – he suffered heart attacks in 2002, 2006 and 2014, and his parents also died of heart problems.
O’Grady had his first seizure when he was just 46, where he was rushed to hospital and underwent a two-hour operation.
After this, he quit smoking, having previously been reported to get through 40 cigarettes a day.
Paul O’Grady pictured with five cheetah cubs, most of whom are sleeping on his lap
The comedian and drag performer loved all animals, large and small, including newborns
Paul O’Grady laughs as the Queen watches a corgi at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in March 2015
Her Majesty Camilla, Queen Consort of the United Kingdom with Battersea Ambassador Paul O’Grady on a visit to Battersea Dog and Cats Home on 12 December 2012
O’Grady was even depicted with powerful and potentially dangerous animals like this bear
But just over four years later, the TV presenter was again in the hospital at the age of 51 after suffering a second heart attack.
And after a bout of angina pectoris in 2013, O’Grady also reportedly suffered a third heart attack in 2014.
His death certificate was registered six days after his death by his PA and agent Joan Marshrons.
It detailed that his death was caused by the comic’s heart disease.
The disease blocks your heart’s blood supply with a buildup of fatty substances in your arteries.
It can be caused by lifestyle choices, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, while people with high cholesterol and high blood pressure are also at higher risk.
Paul O’Grady and Queen Consort Camilla on her visit to the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home center in Brands Hatch, Kent, last February
The 600 acres at Port Lympne are home to more than 900 rare and endangered animals, including monkeys, lions and tigers
Paul O’Grady with partner Andre Portasio, sister Sheila Rudd and daughter Sharyn Mousley at Buckingham Palace in 2008, where he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire
In addition to his trio of heart attacks, O’Grady also nearly died after being hospitalized with kidney problems at the age of 62.
The dog lover played with injured street dogs in Delhi in 2017, “lying in the gutter” with two puppies.
He soon fell ill and shared how he couldn’t stop vomiting – which led to him being hospitalized due to dehydration.
There, they discovered he was headed for kidney failure and gave him saline and antibiotics.
Despite advice, he left the hospital after just one night because he ‘wanted to get back to work’.
In 2022, O’Grady contracted Covid-19 while filming in Malta, which left him breathless and unable to work for two months.
If the electrical impulses that control your heartbeat go wrong, it can cause an abnormal heart rhythm known as an arrhythmia.