This Country actor Michael Sleggs has been praised as kind, caring and loving following his death at the age of 33.
Sleggs was best known for playing the character Michael “Slugs” Slugette in the Bafta-winning BBC Three comedy alongside actors and show creators Charlie and Daisy May Cooper.
According to reports, Sleggs died on Tuesday. In May he revealed on social media that he was receiving palliative care for heart failure.
In a Facebook post on May 22, Sleggs said “no specific time limit has been given but deterioration has been fairly rapid”.
The Coopers paid tribute to Sleggs via Charlie’s Twitter page, writing: “We are completely heartbroken. Michael was utterly unique. He was kind, he was caring, he was loving.
“One of the most considerate generous and gentle friends you could ever wish for and funny – f*** me he was funny.
“Despite everything that Michael had been through in his life, he was never bitter or self pitying. He just brought pure joy to everything and everyone. Just being in his company made you happy to be alive.
“One of Michael’s favourite films was the Muppet Christmas Carol and he would always joke that he was Tiny Tim so it only seems fitting to quote Kermit the frog…
“‘It’s all right, children. Life is made up of meetings and partings. That is the way of it. I am sure that we shall never forget Tiny Tim, or this first parting that there was among us’.”
They added: “Michael you will be so so missed. xxx.”
The BBC’s Shane Allen, controller, comedy commissioning, said in a statement: “We are all crushed by this sad news.
“Michael was a true one-off and an idiosyncratic part of the show’s distinctive world. His work and spirit will endure as part of the ongoing popular legacy of this much-loved show.
“Our hearts go out to family and friends at this poignant time.”
Carl Pawlowski, who presents the WTAF – A This Country Podcast as Pavo, told PA: “It’s just desperately sad and the whole This Country fan community is feeling very sad today.
“Michael was always sort of ill from an early age and he’s always had this health issue and when he did that post on social media a few months ago, where he was saying goodbye to everybody, that was the big shock for a lot of people.
“He was just so young and for a guy that literally always had a smile on his face, he always did, it’s such a sad thing.”
Both Sleggs and Pawlowski are from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, and the podcast host said the actor was “always one of those faces that you saw around, he was always one of those guys”.
He said Sleggs “would always be there to make you laugh and to make you smile – it didn’t matter what he was going through, at whatever particular time of his life, he always had that power to make other people laugh, which is such a fantastic gift.”
“He was a naturally funny guy and I don’t think it mattered what kind of pain he was in, I think as long as he got somebody to laugh that was his job done and I will forever love him for that.”
In the much-loved mockumentary This Country, set in the Cotswolds, Slegg’s character was diagnosed with terminal cancer and drafted a bucket list.
Sleggs had said on social media in May that he had found solace in his Christian faith, and that he had been “blessed with the best life and the best friends and, aside from not following God more diligently earlier in life, I don’t have any regrets.”