Graham Linehan, Michael D Higgins and Dara Ó Briain lead tributes to Brendan Grace
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Graham Linehan, Michael D Higgins and Dara Ó Briain lead tributes to Brendan Grace

THE WORLD of comedy and entertainment is in mourning following the sad passing of Brendan Grace.

A legendary stand-up, storyteller and all-round-entertainer, Brendan passed away following a short battle with cancer, surrounded by family and loved ones.

During his 68 years, the Dublin-born musician and comedian blazed a trail that saw him rub shoulders with everyone from Frank Sinatra to The Wurzels.

A wonderful character actor capable of holding court through a combination of unbridled talent and unrivaled wit, his passing has rocked the world of entertainment and beyond.

Known to many for his sensational cameo as Father Fintan Stack in Father Ted, his work will continue to captivate fans for many years to come.

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And in the sad wake of the announcement confirming his death, a wealth of tributes have flooded in from all over the internet.

Mrs Brown's Boys creator Brendan O'Carroll was among those to pay their respects on Twitter. "So sad at the passing of a great comedy legend, husband and father," he wrote.

"He opened doors for so many of us and leaves a legacy of love and laughter that will echo through this land and we will all mourn his passing. Rest peacefully Bottler you’ve earned it.

Those sentiments were echoed by Graham Linehan, who worked with Brendan on Father Ted.

"Sad to hear about Brendan Grace passing on," he said.

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"He was a big star in Ireland when he appeared in Ted but you’d never have guessed it from working with him as he was always professional, courteous and patient with us. See you later, Brendan, and thanks."

Author Lissa Evans, who worked on Father Ted with Brendan, recalled how he landed the role.

"For the role of Fr Fintan Stack in 'Father Ted', we must have auditioned 50 people - it was hard to portray a 'nasty' priest in a house that already contained Jack. Brendan strolled in, sat down and smiled, chillingly, throughout the scene," she remembered. "Instant perfection."

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Broadcaster and journalist Danny Kelly, meanwhile, put it best by declaring: "RIP Brendan Grace. Father Fintan Stack, though, lives on".

Dustin the Turkey even got in on the act with a tribute to "the original and best".

RTE One dug up a brilliant interview with the man himself from way back in 1977.

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And fans were reminded of the fact Brendan was so much more than just a comedian.

Dara Ó Briain described Brendan as a "genuine comedy legend in Ireland"  and "the king of the entertainers".

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Independent TD for Kerry, Michael Healy-Rae wrote:

"Brendan Grace gave us memories that we will never forget, he will always have a very fond place in our hearts. It was a pleasure to have known him through the years and he always brought a smile to everyone’s face. May he rest in peace."

 Writer Paul Dollery, meanwhile, offered up an anecdote that summed Brendan up to a tee:
"When I worked at , Brendan Grace came in one day to be a guest on one of the shows. The sports desk was right beside the reception so he chatted briefly to myself and while he waited.

"As Father Ted fans, we couldn't resist asking him if there was any chance he'd give us a Father Fintan Stack quote, but he politely declined before heading into the studio.

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"Later, after he had finished on air, he passed the sports desk on his way out... but then doubled back, stuck his head around the partition and said: "Bye, girls... pair of wankers!" We giggled like school kids for the rest of the day. RIP."

The final word must go to President Michael D Higgins, who issued the following tibute:

“I have learned with great sadness of the death of Brendan Grace, singer and comedian.

"As a comedian Brendan's spontaneous wit and his sense of timing, his obvious delighting in interaction with his audiences, meant that Brendan's sense of humour was drawing from, and itself a profound contribution to, the deep wellspring of Irish wit.

"His best-loved characters will endure, precisely because they are both recognisable and representative of the experiences lived and recalled by Irish people of all ages.

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"It was a privilege to know him, and a pleasure to meet Brendan as recently as the 5th of June last, when he accompanied The Forget Me Nots choir to a Garden Party at Áras an Uachtaráin.

"As President of Ireland, I express my deepest condolences to his wife Eileen, his children Bradley, Melanie, Brendan and Amanda, and to his wider family and his friends, and all who valued his acuity and sharp sense of humour.”

RIP Brendan.