Comedian Sean Hughes revealed how he wanted to have his ashes ‘scattered in a bar’ in a poignant poem he wrote about his own death 13 years ago.
The Irish stand-up star, a panellist on BBC pop quiz Never Mind The Buzzcocks for six years, had liver disease following ‘years of hedonism’. He died yesterday aged 51.
Hughes, who was not married and did not have children, died a week after tweeting that he was ‘in hospital’.
Comedian Sean Hughes revealed how he wanted to have his ashes ‘scattered in a bar’ in a poignant poem from 1994
In a poem entitled ‘Death’ from ‘Sean’s Book’ the comedian wrote about how he would like to be laid to rest
Hughes, who was a team captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks on BBC Two (pictured with Phill Jupitus and host Mark Lemarr)
In a poem entitled ‘Death’ from his 1994 ‘Sean’s Book’ the comedian wrote about how he would like to be laid to rest.
He said ‘I know how boring funerals can be…I want people to gather, meet new people, have a laugh, a dance, meet a loved one…I want people to have free drink all night.’
The poem continued: ‘I want people to patch together half truths…I want people to contradict each other…I want them to say “I didn’t know him but cheers”…I want my parents there, adding more pain to their life.
‘I want to have my ashes scattered in a bar…on the floor, mingle with sawdust, a bar where beautiful trendy people will trample over me…again.’
A representative for Hughes confirmed he died in Whittington Hospital, North London, after being taken there during the night.
His final tweet, posted on October 8, simply said: ‘In hospital.’
Irish stand up comedian Hughes (left at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2013) also appeared in Coronation Street. He is pictured on the show (right) with Sue Cleaver who played Eileen Grimshaw
The comedian told his 50,000 Twitter followers that he was ‘in hospital’ in his final social media post last week
In 2015 Hughes spoke about the ‘extreme hedonism’ which once saw him overdose on amphetamines.
He revealed that the previous year he had quit drinking after his jacket caught fire at a party, but added that his friends were ‘uncomfortable’ when he was sober.
‘I quit drinking totally for a couple of years because I was having too many ‘proper’ drinks,’ he said. ‘I knew I was drinking too much when I had to be put out at a party. I don’t mean I was asked to leave. My jacket was on fire.
‘When I started drinking again, I thought my friends would be concerned, but they welcomed my return with a ‘great to have you back’ attitude. Apparently I’m tedious when sober. People were uncomfortable when I wasn’t drinking. It made them question their own habits.’
In another interview, he predicted: ‘I honestly don’t think I’m going to live very long. Many comedians don’t. It’s a very stressful existence.’
From 1996 to 2002 he was a team captain on the BBC 2 comedy quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, alongside Phill Jupitus and Mark Lamarr (pictured with Michael Greco)
Hughes pictured with Never Mind the Buzzcocks presenter Mark Lamarr and the other team captain Phill Jupitus
Before his death, the comedian described how his life of ‘extreme’ hedonism had taken its toll on his body and how he would hate to grow too old.
In a 2014 interview with the Irish Times, he said: ‘The dream is that, one day, people will live forever.
‘Well, I don’t want to live forever. I can think of nothing worse. I’m aiming for 75 to 80. I don’t want to be in a nursing home aged 120, and the nurse coming over and saying: ‘Are you enjoying your 120th birthday, Mr Hughes? Blink if you are’.
‘How many blinks for ‘turn off this machine? And who is Mr Hughes?’
Hughes, who has died today at the age of 51, once spoke about how an amphetamine overdose nearly took his life
Hughes (pictured at Cornbury Festival in Oxfordshire in 2011) was reportedly suffering from cirrhosis of the liver
Hughes was born in London to Irish parents, a mother from Cork and a father from Dublin, and had two brothers, Alan and Martin. The family moved back to Dublin when he was six, and he recalled ‘getting stick’ for his Cockney twang.
He said: ‘I got a lot of stick, like ‘shut up, you Brit’ and I felt like an outsider from very early on.’
He later moved to Firhouse, a suburb on the edge of Dublin, before returning to England at the earliest opportunity.
Hughes never married and had no children, explaining in 2015: ‘I have lived on my own for most of my life and I am very happy.
‘I don’t think I am cut out to get married and have kids. I am quite selfish and like to do things my way.’
Hughes made his name when he became the youngest person to win the coveted Perrier Award – now known as the Edinburgh Comedy Award – at the Edinburgh Festival, at the age of 24.
As well as starring on Buzzcocks with Phill Jupitus and Mark Lamarr, Hughes was also an actor, appearing in The Last Detective, Coronation Street and Agatha Christie’s Marple and Casualty.
Away from the stage and screen, Hughes was also a writer and had penned two collections of prose and poetry, including Sean’s Book.
He wrote best-selling novels The Detainees and It’s What He Would Have Wanted.
Sean Hughes, the comedian who became the youngest to ever win the Perrier Award back in 1990, has died aged 51
SEAN HUGHES BEST JOKES
‘I thought when I was 41, I would be married with kids. Well, to be honest I thought I would be married with weekend access’
‘I know that the English always say that Irish pubs are so friendly. Let me tell you something: we don’t even know you’re there.’
‘You know city centre beat officers? Well, are they police who rap?’
‘I went to the hospital with my psoriasis. They gave me a DVD of The Singing Detective and said ‘Good luck with your life”.
‘I went into one of those cheesy bars the other day. Or a delicatessen as you’d call it.’
‘Everyone grows out of their Morrissey phase. Except Morrissey.’
Tributes began pouring in for the comedian after his death was announced yesterday.
In an emotional tribute, The Last Leg host Adam Hills said the Irish comedian recently revealed he would be leaving his property to charity when he died.
He wrote on Twitter: ‘I’m heartbroken to hear of the death of my friend Sean Hughes. I spent a bit of time with him over the last few years and he seemed to me to be in good health and good spirits.
‘Creatively and personally he appeared to have reached a ‘zen’ state of comedy – he loved doing it for the sake of doing it, and had found an easy, effortless way of bringing laughter to an audience.
‘He recently told me that when he died, he was leaving his property to a couple of charities, so at least there is one ray of light today. I hope right now he is bringing joy to the angels. Rest In Peace old mate.’
Paying tribute yesterday, comedian Sarah Millican said: ‘So sad to hear of Sean Hughes death. He was the first comic I ever saw live. A very funny man. Awful news.’
QI panellist Alan Davies said: ‘Very sad about Sean Hughes. A wry, funny man. Now I’ll probably read all those Milan Kundera novels he was always so keen to chat about.’
Mentioning other comedians who have died, Davies added: ‘Sean Hughes with Linda Smith, Felix Dexter, Caroline Ahearne, and Malcolm Hardee as compere. That is a fantastic bill we’ve lost too soon.’
Nica Burns, director of the awards, remembered him as ‘a huge talent’ and ‘a very good writer’ who had ‘instinctive timing from day one’.
Fellow comedian Jason Manford paid tribute to him on social media, writing: ‘Very sad to hear about Sean Hughes. A brilliant comic and a lovely bloke. RIP.’
Al Murray said: ‘Terribly sad news about Sean Hughes…he won the Perrier the summer I decided to try being a comic. He was being daft, meta, ironic and Byronic all at once, after a decade when stand-up had reinvented itself.
‘He made stand-up look fun, glamorous and above all a creative place where you could play. It’s terribly sad news to hear of his passing.’
His former-promoter Richard Bucknall told Beyond the Joke: ‘He was a pioneering, groundbreaking comedian who changed comedy with that live show.’
Richard K Herring said: ‘What a punch in the soul that is.’
Actress Meera Syal, who played his wife in the Channel Four comedy series Sean’s show, paid tribute to the Irish comic.
She said: ‘He was funny, acerbic and great fun to work with. This is very sad news.’
Gail Porter tweeted: ‘So so sad to hear about Sean Hughes. Worked with him many times and he was so incredibly funny.’
Jack Dee said: ‘Very sad to hear about Sean Hughes. Started on the circuit with him back in the day. RIP.’
Ross Noble said: ‘Just awful news about Sean Hughes. He was very nice to me when I was starting out in comedy. A sad loss.’
Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh said he was ‘lucky to enjoy his company on a few occasions over the years’ and said that Hughes was ‘a witty, gracious, kind and gentle soul’.
X Factor presenter Dermot O’Leary said that Hughes was a ‘genuinely lovely, clever man’ and that he was ‘great company and a brilliant beautiful mind’.
Omid Djalili said: ‘Deeply saddened to hear Sean Hughes died this morning aged 51. Very talented comic, loved & respected. Will miss you dearly my friend.’
Irish comedian Dara O Briain said: ‘Ah, that is very sad news. That’s no age. One of the Irish comedy trailblazers in the UK.’
Hughes (pictured in 2007 at the Gardner Arts Centre in Brighton) was the youngest person to win the coveted Perrier Award – now known as the Edinburgh Comedy award – in 1990
Kate Phillips, the BBC’s controller of entertainment commissioning, paid tribute to Hughes, who was previously a panellist on BBC Two’s Never Mind The Buzzcocks.
Phillips said in a statement: ‘There is no doubt that Sean’s unique wit, dry delivery and ability to engage and have fun with guests week in week out helped establish Never Mind The Buzzcocks as one of the most memorable panel shows of all time.
‘I am a huge fan of his and am very sad to hear this news. All of our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.’
Hughes is survived by his older brother, Alan and younger sibling, Martin.
Hughes has died aged 51 just a week after telling Twitter followers he was ‘in hospital’