Brendan Grace: Irish comedian and Father Ted actor dies

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RTÉ

Irish comedian Brendan Grace has died at the age of 68 after a short illness.

Born in Dublin, he began his career in entertainment as a singer but turned to comedy, becoming well known for characters like Bottler and the Father of the Bride.

He was also an actor acclaimed for roles including Father Fintan Stack in the Channel 4 cult comedy Father Ted.

Irish President Michael D Higgins paid tribute, praising his “spontaneous wit and his sense of timing”.

Mr Grace’s family said he had been grateful for the support from fans since his illness was announced.

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INM/Getty Images

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Brendan Grace was from the Liberties in Dublin

His 1975 song Combine Harvester was a number one hit in the Republic of Ireland.

In later years he divided his time between Ireland and the US.

He suffered ill health but continued to perform and had been due to tour Ireland this summer before being diagnosed with cancer.

‘One of the greatest’

President Higgins said Mr Grace’s sense of humour was drawn from and contributed 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,” he added.

Brendan O’Carroll, the creator and star of the comedy show Mrs Brown’s Boys, and the comedian Dara Ó Briain were among those who paid tribute to him on Twitter.

Tom Kelly, Mr Grace’s manager for 27 years, described him as “one of the greatest entertainers of this era”.

“He gave a performance every night that merited the applause he received,” he told Irish national broadcaster RTÉ.

“We can look back with pride on Brendan’s lifetime – he was a great family man, very close with them and he was adored by his fans all over the world.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also paid tribute to Mr Grace on Twitter.