Dame Edna star Barry Humphries dies aged 89

Barry Humphries, 89, was best known for his Dame Edna Everage character CREDIT: ITV/Shutterstock

Barry Humphries, the comedian best known for his character Dame Edna Everage, has died at the age of 89.

The entertainer died on Saturday at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, where he was being treated for a “serious condition” following complications from hip replacement surgery.

A family statement issued to the Sydney Morning Herald thanked fans and hospital staff for their “support and good wishes”.

Last month, Humphries revealed that he tripped and fell in February, which led to the hip replacement.

“It was the most ridiculous thing, like all domestic incidents are. I was reaching for a book, my foot got caught on a rug or something, and down I went,” he said, adding that he was now in “agony”.

“The result of my broken hip means I now have a titanium hip. You can call me ‘Bionic Bazza’,” he said. 

Humphries added that he had plans to go back on tour later this year.

The entertainer became a staple of the British comedy circuit after moving from Australia to London in 1959 and appearing in West End shows such as Maggie May and Oliver!

He was among the leading members of the British comedy scene, alongside Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Spike Milligan.

As well as Dame Edna Everage, he also appeared as the lecherous Sir Les Patterson and Sandy Stone, an elderly, childless man living in the suburbs.

Paying tribute to Humphries, the comedian Matt Lucas described him as “quite simply the greatest”. 

“I wonder if all geniuses are as lovely as Barry Humphries,” he said. “Thank you for delighting and inspiring us. Quite simply, you were the greatest.”

Anthony Albanese, the Australian prime minister, described him as “the brightest star” in “a galaxy of personas”.

“For 89 years, Barry Humphries entertained us through a galaxy of personas, from Dame Edna to Sandy Stone,” Mr Albanese said.

“But the brightest star in that galaxy was always Barry. A great wit, satirist, writer and an absolute one-of-kind, he was both gifted and a gift. May he rest in peace.”

Carol Vorderman praised Humphries' “bright intelligence and mischief”, and described him as a “genius”.

“I only met you a few times but that look in your eyes full of bright intelligence and mischief, knowing trouble was ahead and looking forward to every special second of it: I'll never forget it. Thank you Sir,” she said. 

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