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Sunday 19 November 2017

Friends will say farewell to Hughes with traditional wake

Comedian Sean Hughes, who died on Monday, wrote of his wish to be cremated. Photo: PA Wire
Comedian Sean Hughes, who died on Monday, wrote of his wish to be cremated. Photo: PA Wire

Friends and family of Dublin comedian Sean Hughes will bid him farewell at a funeral ceremony in London.

In keeping with his wishes, there will be a traditional-style wake following the service at Islington and Camden Cemetery on Monday.

Hughes (51) is survived by his two brothers, Alan and Martin, his sisters-in-law Andrea and Kirsti and "the many personal and professional friends he bonded with over the years", his funeral notice read.

Many of Britain and Ireland's most famous comedians are expected to attend the funeral to pay their final respects to the man who blazed a trail for Irish comedians across the water.

The acclaimed stand-up, actor and writer, who was born in London but moved to Firhouse with his Irish parents when he was six, passed away in hospital last Monday after a short illness.

Comedian and friend Jason Byrne. Photo: Mark Condren
Comedian and friend Jason Byrne. Photo: Mark Condren

It is understood that Hughes had a heart attack after going into cardiac arrest following a flare-up of cirrhosis of the liver.

He was rushed to the Whittington Hospital in north London, where he passed away as a result of the cardiac arrest

His sudden death came as a huge shock to those who knew him and had not even realised he was ill.

A poignant poem written by the popular Never Mind the Buzzcocks music panel show captain 23 years ago resurfaced this week.

In it, he speaks about his funeral, indicating a desire to the cremated.

"I know how boring funerals can be. I want people to gather, meet new people, have a laugh, a dance, meet a loved one," he wrote.

The unmarried star's last tweet on October 8 was simply, "In hospital".

Sick

Many of those who knew Hughes did not realise just how sick he actually was.

Dublin comedian Jason Byrne said he got a massive shock when he heard the sad news of his friend's passing.

"I knew Sean really well and it was like, 'What?'," he told the Herald.

"I have never known a comic that close to me pass away.

"I can't believe it. I didn't even know he was in hospital. Sean was like that. He wouldn't say, 'I'm very ill, you need to come and see me'.

"He would literally go in there on his own.

"It's quite a lonely job, but Sean was going home to nobody, so that's a really lonely space to be living in."

As a rising star on Britain's comedy circuit, Hughes became the youngest ever comedian to win the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival when he was just 24.

He went on to score a TV success in the early 1990s with Sean's Show on Channel 4 before landing a part in Coronation Street.

But he is perhaps best known for his time on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, when he was team captain from 1996 up until 2002.

He left on his own accord after deciding he had spent enough time on the show. "I don't want Buzzcocks to become my legacy," he said.

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