Father Ted star Ardal O'Hanlon leads tributes after death of Irish comedian Sean Hughes
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Father Ted star Ardal O'Hanlon leads tributes after death of Irish comedian Sean Hughes

ARDAL O'HANLON has led tributes to Irish comedian Sean Hughes following his untimely death at the age of 51.

The Father Ted star said the stand-up comic had shown the way for many other Irish comedians over the last 30 years.

"I am shocked to hear that Sean has passed away," O'Hanlon told The Irish Post. "For many Irish comedians he showed us 'the way'."

O'Hanlon, who is currently filming series seven of BBC1's Death in Paradise, said his friend was a trailblazer.

"I will remember fondly his joyful, inspiring, trailblazing Perrier award-winning show in 1990 and the delightful C4 sitcom Sean's Show," he said.

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"I will also remember him equally fondly as a challenging and argumentative friend. My condolences to his brothers Martin and Alan.'

Alex McDonnell of the Aisling charity pictured with Ardal O'Hanlon (r) at a comedy benefit in 2012 which also featured Sean Hughes on the bill (Picture: Malcolm McNally)

Sean Hughes was born in London in 1965, but spent most of his youth in Firhouse, Dublin.

His first Edinburgh show, A One Night Stand with Sean Hughes won the prestigious Perrier Comedy Award and he quickly built a cult following.

He had also appeared on TV and in film, including ITV soap Coronation Street and Alan Parker's The Commitments in 1991.

He died on Monday, October 16 having tweeted on October 8 that he was in hospital.

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Comedian Sean Hughes has died aged 51. (Picture: MJ Kim/Getty Images)

Irish comedian Jarlath Regan said Hughes inspired his career in Britain, with the pair becoming friends in later years.

“When I was a kid Sean was the coolest Irishman on the TV. My sisters fancied him and the whole family thought he was funny," said Regan, who is the creator of the award-winning podcast An Irishman Abroad.

"As I got older he became the reason to watch Never Mind The Buzzcocks on the BBC. Then when I became a grown-up he was proof that you could go to London and be a comedian and be successful.

"He had already carved the path," Regan told The Irish Post.

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Comedian Jarlath Regan said Hughes was an inspiration (Picture: Jenny Stewart)

He described Hughes as a modern, intelligent and funny Irishman.

"When you go on stage in London, part of the reason you get a small benefit of the doubt from the audience is because Sean helped to created the mould for what it was to be a modern, intelligent, funny Irishman," he added.

"We became friends after the spotlight had faded for him.

"At times he could be the infuriating but he was always entertaining and you knew he always had a good heart.

"Sean was so ever present you never thought he’d ever go away. We were lucky to have him for as long as we did.”