This Country star Michael Sleggs has died at the age of 33.
The comedy actor, who played Michael ‘Slugs’ Slugette in the BAFTA winning BBC Three mockumentary, is believed to have passed away on Tuesday evening.
Posting on Twitter, co-creator Charlie Cooper hailed Sleggs as “one of the most considerate, generous and gentle friends you could ever wish for”.
“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- fuck me he was funny,” wrote Cooper.
“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.”
Cooper added: “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”. Michael you will be so so missed. xxx”
Tributes also came from close friend Camilla-Alicia Bates and This Country producer Simon Mayhew-Archer, who praised Sleggs for bringing “tremendous joy” to the show.
“Michael encapsulated the spirit and humour of This Country. He was a fantastic, talented man who brought tremendous joy to all who knew him & saw him. I loved working with him & will miss him,” wrote Mayhew-Archer.
In May, Sleggs told fans that he was receiving palliative care at home, after suffering from heart failure.
“Hi friends, as a lot of you are probably aware I’ve spent a lot of time in and out of hospital over the past few months. This last time it was decided i was reaching the end of options so they’ve sent me home on palliative care to live out the remainder of my days at home,” he said on Facebook.
“No specific time limit has been given but deterioration has been fairly rapid. I’ve been sleeping a lot and narrowly dodged a coma by accidentally overdosing on morphine the other day. Anyway as you can imagine this isn’t the ideal way I wished things to go and my family are dealing with a lot of grief. Just wanted to say I love everyone reading this status so much, you have all been such amazing, kind, caring people who have all touched my life in so many unique and incredible ways.”
Sleggs added: “Sorry if this status is too shmaltzy but not everyone has the chance to say goodbye so indulge me lol. If you’re wondering why I’m not sounding freaked out by the whole situation.”
This Country was Sleggs’ first TV role and saw him appearing alongside siblings Daisy-May and Charlie Cooper – who play cousins Kerry and Kurtan Mucklowe in the acclaimed mockumentary.
The character was widely based on Sleggs’ own experiences, but he reportedly took a while to figure it out.
Charlie previously told Cotswolds Life: ‘He didn’t realise the character was anything to do with him. He went up to Daisy during filming and goes, “I know who the character is based on.” ‘And Daisy’s like, “Yeah I’m sorry mate, I hope you’re all right with that.” And he said, “It’s Paul Fisher isn’t it?”’
It was previously claimed that Sleggs was suffering from terminal cancer, but the actor clarified before his death that he was receiving palliative care because of his heart.
He wrote: “I don’t have any cancer, haven’t had for 18 years so I don’t know where the press got that idea. Sure, recently I was put onto palliative care cuz my heart failure was getting out of control. By last Friday I was certain I wouldn’t be here the next week but miraculously I made some sort of great turn around over the weekend.”