Tributes paid to ‘first rock star comic’ Sean Hughes

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.
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Comedian Sean Hughes who became the youngest winner of what are now the Edinburgh Comedy Awards has been hailed “one of a kind” following his death aged 51.

Tributes to Hughes poured in after a representative of the Irish comic confirmed he had died yesterday following a short stay in hospital, reported to be related to cirrhosis of the liver.

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

In 1990, Hughes was just 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.

Nica Burns, director of the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, was among those leading the tributes.

She said: “He was a huge talent, a really good comic, instinctive timing from day one and a very good writer. He will be missed.”

She was joined by the Capital’s Gilded Balloon, who called Hughes an “unparalleled” talent whose shows were “hugely creative”.

A spokesman said: “He was the first rock star stand-up, known for selling out shows before they opened, with people camping out in the streets in pursuit of a ticket. He was unparalleled and truly one of a kind.

“His passing is a huge loss to the comedy industry and we shall miss him greatly.”

As well as his time on Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Hughes also appeared in TV programmes 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.

Edinburgh-based writer and Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh said he had been “lucky to enjoy his company on a few occasions over the years” and described Hughes as “a witty, gracious, kind and gentle soul”.

Jason Manford, Omid Djalili, Jack Dee and Sarah Millican were among other well-known faces to pay tribute to Hughes, who also penned the best-selling novels The Detainees and It’s What He Would Have Wanted.

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

Manford said he was “a brilliant comic and a lovely bloke”.

News of Hughes’s death comes just over a week after he posted his final tweet on October 8, in which he told his followers he was in hospital.