Cilla Black: Paul O'Grady speaks of shock over close friend's death and pays tribute to singer who was 'like a sister'

‘We’ve been friends for nearly 20 years. She’s like my sister’

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The Independent Online

Presenter Paul O’Grady has spoken of his shock and sadness at the news of Cilla Black's death, describing the singer as “like my sister”.

Black died at her home in Estepona, Spain, at the age of 72. Local police said that while tests have not yet been conducted, it is believed the singer died of natural causes.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, O’Grady expressed shock over his friend’s death, and said: “Please tell me this isn’t true? We’ve been friends for nearly 20 years. She’s like my sister.”

He told the newspaper that he and Black had spent a week in Barbados together at the start of the year, adding that he had seen Black on his birthday.


O’Grady said he often told Black that “she’d outlive us all” because she was “such a strong lady,” and told the newspaper that he believed the entertainer was well, adding: “I can’t believe it to tell you the truth.”

Fans and friends have paid tribute to the late star, from David Cameron to Sir Cliff Richard, who said he would miss his “outrageous” friend dearly.

“Some people will always be with us and Cilla is one of those people,” he said.

“I will always think of her as outrageous, funny, incredibly gifted but above all full of heart."

Sir Cliff added: ”She was a very special person, and I have lost a very wonderful friend, I will miss her dearly. God bless her.“

Black's representative Nick Fiveash said in a statement: ”It is with deep sorrow that I confirm today the passing of singer and TV personality Cilla Black.

“Details of her death will be announced following the coroners report. Her family have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time.”

Spanish police sources told The Telegraph they believe Black died at her Spanish home overnight of natural causes. She is thought to have travelled to Spain with one of her sons a few days previously.