Comedian Barry Humphries, who played Dame Edna Everage, has passed away at the age of 89.
The entertainer had been readmitted to hospital following complications after hip surgery.
His grieving family confirmed the news in a statement, which read: “He was completely himself until the very end, never losing his brilliant mind, his unique wit and generosity of spirit.”
“With over 70 years on the stage, he was an entertainer to his core, touring up until the last year of his life and planning more shows that will sadly never be,” the statement continued.
“His audiences were precious to him, and he never took them for granted.
“Although he may be best remembered for his work in theatre, he was a painter, author, poet, and a collector and lover of art in all its forms.”
In the statement, Humphries was described as a devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather and a friend.
“The characters he created, which brought laughter to millions, will live on,” it added.
The comedian played the purple-haired drag persona on stage and TV for more than six decades.
Known for his famous greeting ‘Hello possums!’, he was Australia’s single most famous comedy export.
He also played Sir Less Patterson, an unkempt drunk who held numerous fictional diplomatic positions, and Sandy Stone, an elderly man who lived in the world of his youth.
Comedian Ricky Gervais took to Twitter and wrote: “Farewell, Barry Humphries, you Comedy genius .”
Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese also said: “For 89 years, Barry Humphries entertained us through a galaxy of personas, from Dame Edna to Sandy Stone.
“But the brightest star in that galaxy was always Barry. A great wit, satirist, writer, and an absolute one-of-kind, he was both gifted and a gift. May he rest in peace.”
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