THREE of North Wales' top drag performers have paid tribute to a true pioneer and legend of the art in the UK.

Paul O’Grady has died aged 67, his partner Andre Portasio has said.

A statement shared with the PA news agency via a representative said the TV presenter and comedian died “unexpectedly but peacefully” on Tuesday evening.

The Leader: Lily Savage (Paul O'Grady)Lily Savage (Paul O'Grady) (Image: PA)

Mr Portasio said in his statement: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening.”

For many, it is for drag persona Lily Savage that O'Grady will be best remembered.

The Royal Serenity, from Prestatyn, is one of the region's best known young drag performers, regularly performing in Cheshire, North Wales, and Merseyside.

They said: "It was honestly devastating to wake up to that news this morning. He was such a huge inspiration for me. Someone I was truly in awe of and could only dream to have a career like. Just last week I was binge watching old Blankety Blanks and the Lily Savage shows.

"Still so funny to this day. Clever, clever humour."

The Leader:

The Royal Serenity added: "Paul was such an incredible person. And was and will always be truly an icon, especially as Lilly Savage.

"He paved the way for British drag, ruled the BBC, ITV, and Chanel 4 with Lilly’s hilarious comedy shows and TV presentations. And continued to do so as Paul building a legacy of his humour and kind heart.

"There is no one else like Paul. Such a huge loss."

The Vivienne, a former pupil at Rydal Penrhos in Colwyn Bay who now lives in Chester, has gone on to be one of the UK and the world's most recognised drag queens with appearances on Dancing on Ice, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, and Emmerdale.

The Leader: The Vivienne on Dancing on Ice.The Vivienne on Dancing on Ice. (Image: ITV)

They, like Lily Savage, first found fame on the Liverpool drag scene.

On social media The Vivienne posted: "A very sad day. The First Lady of British Drag, an icon, a trailblazer and a legend.

"Cause havoc wherever you may be you inspiration."

The Leader:

Paul O’Grady was one of the most openly LGBTQ+ celebs on screens for a long time, both in and out of drag.

He debuted Lily Savage in the 1970s, rising to fame in the 1980s, and performing in drag on The Big Breakfast in the 1990s and many other mainstream shows.

“Paul was a dreamboat. He was one of those people that obviously had incredible fame in the 1990s and as a young out, queer person to reflect our culture on TV in that period was amazing to see,” said Nathaniel J Hall, It’s A Sin actor and HIV activist.

He was known for putting his heart, and work, into supporting the community during the HIV epidemic.

Infamous Flintshire-based drag performer Shaggerada, who recently transported aid to Ukraine, also paid tribute.

On Instagram, they posted: "Such sad news to wake up to hearing Paul O’Grady/Lily Savage has passed away.

"A very funny and kind man."