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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Jessica Gibb & Susan Knox & Fionnula Hainey

Tributes paid to 'lovely and hilarious' comedian Gareth Richards who has died aged 41 following car crash

Comedian Gareth Richards, a close friend of Frank Skinner, has died aged 41 after being involved in a car crash.

Skinner broke down during his Saturday radio show last week as he told listeners that his friend and former co-host had been involved in car crash and was fighting for his life. Today, Gareth's wife Laura shared an update with fans, confirming that he had passed away on Good Friday at around 6.30pm, the Mirror reports.

She wrote: "It is with great sadness that I have to share that Gareth passed away on Friday 7th April (Good Friday) at 6:30pm. He was in a terrible car accident on Monday 27th March at 11:30pm and sustained serious brain injuries.

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Laura said it was a "miracle that he arrived at the hospital alive", adding that medical staff had been "incredible" and had kept him in a stable and sedated condition. However, she continued: "The latest scan revealed that the extent of the damage was so severe that they would have to remove all of the supportive medications and allow him to be at peace."

She told her Facebook friends: "I know that he was well loved. At the moment the grief is a lot to cope with. Thank you all for your support and kindness."

Skinner struggled to hold back tears earlier this month when he revealed Gareth was fighting for his life on his Absolute Radio show. Speaking on the programme, the 66-year-old said: "One thing you have to learn to do in this line of work is put on a false front and the show must go, that's what happened this morning."

Talking to his co-host Emily Dean, he continued: "We have been doing this show for 14 years and when we first did the pilot for it, me and Emily, it was rubbish, just the two of us. Couldn't do it. We got a guest on the next one who was Gareth Richards, who was brilliant on her and we asked him to do the show. And so for the first few years it was me, Em and Gareth.

Frank Skinner hosted his radio show alongside his close friend Gareth Richards (Getty Images for eONE)

Frank told his listeners that Gareth "became a very close friend" and went on to support him on tour. Explaining Gareth's condition at the time, Frank added: "Gareth was in a very big road accident this week and it is not looking great for Gareth. He is in hospital and he is fighting and it's not looking great. I didn't want to do this show without mentioning him."

Frank then appealed to listeners to keep Gareth in their prayers. "He is a fantastic bloke. I don't know if any of you do pray but if you do, give one for Gareth this week," he said. An emotional Emily added: "We love you, Gareth."

The Frank Skinner Show said a podcast featuring his best bits would be released following his death. In a tweet, it said: "We are heartbroken about the loss of our dear friend, Gareth. We will miss him greatly. Tomorrow we will be releasing a podcast of some of his Best Bits on our show."

Since the news of his death broke, the comedy world has been paying tribute to the late star.

Jason Manford tweeted: Myself and the whole team at @ManfordsComedy are devastated to hear the news that Gareth Richards passed away today. He was a wonderfully inventive & funny comedian but more importantly a kind & thoughtful man. Our thoughts are with his wife & children at this time. Jason."

Comedian Rhys James tweeted: "I was a fan of Gareth Richards before I met him and was so thrilled by how lovely and hilarious he was offstage as well as on. A giant of joke writing. A pleasure to know and an honour to die on my arse alongside at some real stinker network gigs back in the day. RIP."

Adam Kay wrote: "Indescribably sad about Gareth Richards. It is an almost unique eulogy for a comedian that every single person they met says what a kind, sweet person they were. Rest in peace my friend."

Sharing a clip of Gareth's stand up routine, Ted Lasso star Lloyd Griffith said: "This is heartbreaking. Gareth, you were the kindest man ever, and so so funny. I used to watch this over and over again when I first got into comedy. Rest in peace pal xx."

Comic Josh Pugh wrote: "Thoughts with @garethrichards family and friends such a kind and funny man."

Lucy Beaumont said: "The stand up comedy world has lost a truly unique, alternative comic today - Gareth Richards. You'll never heara bad word against him x"

In 2018, the comedian gushed over taking part in Frank's radio show as he posed for a photo at the radio station, with the logo seen behind the comedian in the snap. Posting the photo to his Facebook page, he wrote: "Really enjoyed doing the Frank Skinner Radio Show this morning. You can download the podcast if you missed it. I’m on again next week too." Gareth made appearances on Russell Howard's Good News, as well as BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4.


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