This Country’s Charlie Cooper has shared his ‘heartbreak’ at the death of friend and co-star Michael Sleggs.
Sleggs, 33, died late last night after entering palliative care for heart failure.
Fans of This Country, in which Sleggs played Slugs, have been paying tribute on social media, and now, Charlie – who cast Sleggs in the BBC Three comedy alongside his sister Daisy Cooper – has spoken out.
Charlie, 29, shared a string of pictures of Michael and wrote: ‘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.’
Charlie, who plays Kurtan in This Country, continued: ‘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.’
This Country was Sleggs’ first ever TV role, as he starred alongside Daisy and Charlie as Kerry and Kurtan’s pal Slugs.
The Coopers based Slugs on Sleggs, although the actor didn’t realise it at first.
Charlie 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?”’
In the show, Slugs had terminal cancer, with one of his seven episodes seeing Slugs try to get Kurtan and Kerry to play laser-quest as part of his bucket list.
Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning at BBC, said: ‘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.’
At the end of May, Sleggs told his Facebook friends and fans that he would be ‘living out the remainder of his days at home’ after suffering heart failure.
He wrote: ‘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. 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.
‘Sorry if this status is too schmaltzy 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. Well, initially I was, but, as always in a time of crisis (should have been way before I’m ashamed to say) I turned to God and my Christian faith. Been reading the Bible daily, listening to Christian songs and sermons and its changed my entire mindset to nothing but peace and gratitude.
‘Guys, regardless of a few medical issues, I have 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. If you don’t know Jesus already, my only hope is that you get to know him before you get to my state. He’ll totally rock your world in the best way!’
Initially it was believed Sleggs had cancer; however, he later cleared up that he was put into 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.’
Sleggs added that he would try to stay alive for as long as he could.
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