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Saturday, 27 April, 2002, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
O'Grady heart attack forces life changes
Lily Savage
O'Grady's alter ego, Lily, hosts TV's Blankety Blank
Comedian Paul O'Grady, better known as his alter ego Lily Savage, has told how his heart attack has been a "life changing experience".

Speaking through his agent Brendan Murphy, the 46-year-old thanked fans for their good wishes.


I have been overwhelmed by people's generosity, by their cards and letters and flowers

Paul O'Grady

And he said that for the first time in his life he was going to give up smoking following the health scare.

The star is said by his agent to be "doing well and recovering" at his London home near Tower Bridge.

The star of TV quiz show Blankety Blank star was discharged from hospital six days after suffering a heart attack.

Speedy recovery

Doctors at a London hospital have been impressed by the speed of his recovery after he was admitted complaining of chest pains.

Paul O'Grady out of his Lily Savage persona
O'Grady had no history of heart trouble
O'Grady said: "I have been overwhelmed by people's generosity, by their cards and letters and flowers.

"I admit I was a little shocked by the level of messages.

"One of my first visitors in hospital was the man who sweeps the road in Tower Bridge, who I speak to when walking the dog.

"He said he had just popped in to check I was okay.

"It truly has been overwhelming."

He added that he had "never stopped smoking, ever, but this has been life-changing experience for me".

Work schedule

Doctors at St Thomas's Hospital, in central London diagnosed a heart attack.

O'Grady underwent a two-hour operation to widen a blocked artery on 17 April.

Earlier, Mr Murphy, said that following the surgery the entertainer would have to make some "huge adjustments" to his work schedule.

O'Grady regularly dons drag to host Blankety Blank as Lily Savage.

He once admitted: "I'm not saying I'm a show-off but give me a stage and an audience and I'm as happy as a flea on a dog."

The fast-talking drag queen's appeal led to him becoming the host of Blankety Blank after the death of comic, Les Dawson.

See also:

22 Apr 02 | Showbiz
O'Grady 'making speedy recovery'
19 Apr 02 | Showbiz
O'Grady suffers heart attack
21 Apr 02 | Showbiz
Paul O'Grady: Flamboyant comic
23 Jun 00 | G-I
Heart attack
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