Sean Hughes: Comedian dies aged 51

Sean Hughes  has died aged 51
Sean Hughes has died aged 51
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Stars of stand-up comedy have paid tribute to the Irish comedian Sean Hughes, who has died at the age of 51.

Hughes died in a north London hospital yesterday.

Irish actor, writer and comedian Sean Hughes won the Perrier Award (or Perrier Prize) at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 1990.

Irish actor, writer and comedian Sean Hughes won the Perrier Award (or Perrier Prize) at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 1990.

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

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“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.

Sean Hughes had been taken to hospital prior to his death

Sean Hughes had been taken to hospital prior to his death

“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.”

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

He also wrote and starred in his own sitcom, Sean’s Show, in the early 1990s.

He was later a team captain on BBC Two’s Never Mind The Buzzcocks, but he also appeared in TV programmes including Coronation Street and The Last Detective, and in Alan Parker’s Dublin-set film The Commitments in 1991.

He returned to the Fringe in 2007 after a seven-year break, heralding a new run which culminated in Blank Book this year. He also joined the Gilded Balloon 30th anniversary celebrations in 2015.

He died just over a week after he posted his final tweet on 8 October, in which he told his followers he was in hospital. Reports yesterday suggested he died of a heart attack, following a flare-up of cirrhosis, a condition which causes long-term liver damage.

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

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.”