Barry Humphries, best known for his alter ego Dame Edna Everage, has died at the age of 89.
The comedy legend was recently readmitted to Sydney’s St. Vincent’s Hospital after experiencing complications following hip replacement surgery last month.
The Australian star died on Saturday evening, according to David Faktor, a spokesperson for the hospital.
He told the PA news agency: “I can confirm Barry Humphries passed away this evening Sydney time, around 7pm on Saturday evening (11am GMT).”
A statement from Barry’s family said: “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.
“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.
“He was also a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and a friend and confidant to many. His passing leaves a void in so many lives.
“The characters he created, which brought laughter to millions, will live on.”
Before his death was announced, Australian journalist Peter Ford told Channel 7’s Sunrise show: “Barry won’t give up easily. Whether that’s a realistic goal, I don’t know … I am told that Barry’s health has worsened in the last week.”
He added: “Things are tough. But Barry has a fighting spirit, and he won’t give up easily. [But] There are very serious concerns about what happens next … it is a very tough time at the moment.”
The comedy star had previously admitted he had been left in “agony” when he tripped over a rug at home in February, leading him to undergo the hip replacement operation.
After enduring “very painful” sessions with a physiotherapist at the hospital’s rehabilitation facility, Barry was determined to get back on his feet in order to tour Australia later this year.
He told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper last month: “I have to get back on my feet… I’m going back on tour later this year.
“The result of my broken hip means I now have a titanium hip … you can call me ‘Bionic Bazza’.”
Barry’s seven decade career saw him racking up writing credits, TV shows, and starring roles on stage in West End productions of Maggie May and Oliver! as well as roles on Broadway.
His most famous creation, Dame Edna, became a household name in the UK in the 1970s and went on to land her own TV shows, the Dame Edna Everage Experience and Dame Edna’s Neighbourhood Watch.
The character was famed for her lilac-rinsed hair, flamboyant glasses, love of gladioli, and the catchphrase: “Hello possums!”
Alongside his Dame Edna, he also appeared as the lecherous Sir Les Patterson and Sandy Stone, an elderly man living the suburbs.
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