Paul O'Grady talks Cilla Black's death: 'I couldn't believe it'

Paul O'Grady is still coming to terms with the death of his close friend Cilla Black. The television presenter, who was friends with Cilla for over 15 years, said he "couldn't believe it" when he heard that she had passed away.

Speaking to ITV's Loose Women, Paul explained: "I couldn't believe it when I got the phone call, the press rang me up to tell me, and that's always the worst way to find out."

Paul added that there are still times he wants to share stories with Cilla, only to be reminded of her passing.

Paul O'Grady said he couldn't believe it when he heard Cilla Black had died

"Even now I sort of think, 'Oh, she's either in Barbados or Spain'," Paul said. "We used to go clubbing, we'd go on holiday together, spoke to her all the time, and even now I think, 'I must ring Cilla and tell her that'."

Cilla passed away on Saturday 1 August while she was on holiday in Spain. A coroner's report found that the 72-year-old died of natural causes after falling in her home and consequently suffering a stroke.

Hundreds of fans lined the streets in Cilla's hometown of Liverpool when she was laid to rest on 20 August, with Paul playing a part in the service by giving a eulogy, however he has revealed that he didn't know what he was going to say in advance.

Paul spoke about his friendship with Cilla on Loose Women

"I sat there and I thought, 'I don't know what to say', and I thought I'll sort of suss the venue out, and of course I get in, so you've got the Bishop of Liverpool on the alter, full Requiem Mass, and I thought 'I'm gonna swear, I am going to swear with nerves' I sat there and I had no idea what I was going to say."

The television appearance comes just two weeks after Paul said he was "destroyed" by the death of his close friend, telling Closer: "After anyone close to you dies, you're in a strange state for a while. I've withdrawn a bit and gone into myself. I just get on with my work. I'm not in the mood for partying put it that way."