Friday 19 October 2018

The Last Leg’s Adam Hills shares emotional tribute to Sean Hughes

Hughes had previously been open when discussing his relationship with alcohol and his “hedonistic” lifestyle.

Sean Hughes
Sean Hughes

By Lucy Mapstone, Press Association Deputy Entertainment Editor

The Last Leg host Adam Hills has shared an emotional tribute to Sean Hughes, and said the Irish comedian recently revealed he would be leaving his property to charity when he died.

Hughes died on Monday in hospital aged 51, a representative for the comedian, actor and writer confirmed.

Australian comedian Hills said in a statement shared on Twitter: “I’m heartbroken to hear of the death of my friend Sean Hughes.

“I spent a bit of time with him over the last few years and he seemed to me to be in good health and good spirits.

“Creatively and personally he appeared to have reached a ‘zen’ state of comedy – he loved doing it for the sake of doing it, and had found an easy, effortless way of bringing laughter to an audience.

“He recently told me that when he died, he was leaving his property to a couple of charities, so at least there is one ray of light today.

“I hope right now he is bringing joy to the angels. Rest In Peace old mate.”

According to reports, Hughes’ death was caused by liver cirrhosis, a condition caused by long-term liver damage.

He died just over a week after he posted his final tweet on October 8, in which he told his followers he was in hospital.

Hughes wrote in The Irish Times in 2014 of his relationship with alcohol, and that he once stopped drinking for a while because he was “drinking too much”, before starting again.

Sean Hughes

He wrote: “The other night, pretty drunk at the end of the evening, my friend asked if I wanted to go for a ‘proper’ drink.

“Thank God those days are over for me now. I quit drinking totally for a couple of years because I was having too many ‘proper’ drinks. I knew I was drinking too much when I had to be put out at a party.

“I don’t mean I was asked to leave. My jacket was on fire.”

He continued: “When I started drinking again, I thought my friends would be concerned, but they welcomed my return with a ‘great to have you back’ attitude.

“Apparently I’m tedious when sober. People were uncomfortable when I wasn’t drinking. It made them question their own habits.”

In another piece in the newspaper from the same year, Hughes said he had pushed his body “to extreme hedonistic limits”.

He added: “I once overdosed on amphetamines: I was rushed to hospital and made to work the night shift.”

In the same article, he said he did not “want to live forever”, adding that he could think of “nothing worse” and that he was “aiming for 75-80”.

Following the news of Hughes’ death, stars of the comedy world shared their sadness and messages of condolence on Twitter.

QI panellist Alan Davies said: “Very sad about Sean Hughes. A wry, funny man. Now I’ll probably read all those Milan Kundera novels he was always so keen to chat about.”

Mentioning other comedians who have died, Davies added: “Sean Hughes with Linda Smith, Felix Dexter, Caroline Ahearne, and Malcolm Hardee as compere.

“That is a fantastic bill we’ve lost too soon.”

Jason Manford said he was “very sad to hear about Sean Hughes”, and said he was “a brilliant comic and a lovely bloke”.

Omid Djalili‏ said: “Deeply saddened to hear Sean Hughes died this morning aged 51. Very talented comic, loved & respected. Will miss u dearly my friend.”

Jack Dee said he was “very sad” to hear of the news of Hughes’s death, and added: “Started on the circuit with him back in the day. RIP.”

Sarah Millican praised Hughes as a “very funny man”, and said that “he was the first comic I ever saw live”.

Irish comedian Dara O Briain said: “Ah, that is very sad news. That’s no age. One of the Irish comedy trailblazers in the UK.”

Other comics, including Julian Clary, Aisling Bea, Ross Noble, Al Murray and Marcus Brigstocke were among those to share tributes to Hughes.

Kate Phillips, the BBC’s controller of entertainment commissioning, said in a statement: “There is no doubt that Sean’s unique wit, dry delivery and ability to engage and have fun with guests week in week out helped establish Never Mind The Buzzcocks as one of the most memorable panel shows of all time.

“I am a huge fan of his and am very sad to hear this news. All of our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”

London-born Irish comedian Hughes was best known for being a panellist on BBC Two’s Never Mind The Buzzcocks, and for writing and starring in his own sitcom Sean’s Show in the early 1990s.

In 1990, Hughes was 24 when he became the youngest winner of the main prize at the Perrier Comedy Awards, now known as the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, for his stand-up show A One Night Stand With Sean Hughes.

Sean Hughes

He also appeared in TV programmes including Coronation Street and The Last Detective, and in Alan Parker’s film The Commitments in 1991.

He returned to Edinburgh in 2007 after a seven-year break with his show The Right Side Of Wrong.

In 2015, Hughes joined the cast of the Olivier Award-winning production of The Railway Children.

Away from the stage and screen, Hughes was also a writer and had penned two collections of prose and poetry, including Sean’s Book.

He wrote best-selling novels The Detainees and It’s What He Would Have Wanted.

Hughes is survived by his two brothers, Alan and Martin.

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