The stand-up comic, known for his work on stage and as a team captain on BBC Two’s Never Mind the Buzzcocks, died of complications linked to cirrhosis of the liver, it is believed.
In his last tweet, on October 8, he said he had gone to hospital. His spokesman said he died today.
His former promoter Richard Bucknall told Beyond the Joke: “He was a pioneering, groundbreaking comedian who changed comedy with that live show.”
Hughes was born in London but grew up in Dublin, Ireland, where he honed his stand up routines. He appeared in the Comedy Store in Soho, with his first appearance in 1987.
And he became a household name during his time as team captain on the BBC Two show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, from 1996 to 2002.
Hughes became one of the youngest comedians to win the Perrier Comedy Award, which he was awarded in 1990 aged 24.
The accolade, now known as the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, is awarded to what is considered the best show of the annual Fringe Festival in the city.
Fellow comedians paid tribute to Hughes.
Al Murray tweeted: “Terribly sad news about Sean Hughes.”
And Jason Manford said: “Very sad to hear about Sean Hughes. A brilliant comic and a lovely bloke. RIP.”
In a varied career, Hughes also had acting roles in The Commitments, Casualty and Agatha Christie’s Marple.
In a role in Coronation Street in 2007, he dated Eileen Grimshaw for a stint as travelling salesman Pat.
Speaking of the role, he wrote on his website: “They never told me what it was he sold but I assume it was small stuff as I was never even given as much as a bag.”
He had his own television show, Sean’s Show, which was set in his own home and first aired on Channel 4 in 1992.
In some of his latest work, he appeared on stage in The Railway Children in 2015.
And he also penned five books in between tours of his stand up shows.
Nica Burns, the director of the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, said: “Sean Hughes was the youngest comic at 24, to win Britain’s top comedy award in 1990.
“He was a huge talent, a really good comic, instinctive timing from day one and a very good writer. He will be missed.”
Fellow comedian and television panellist Aisling Bea said: “So sad. RIP Sean Hughes – a wonderfully silly, anarchic & hilarious comic. I always enjoyed the mad tangents our conversations would take.”
Irvine Welsh tweeted: “Sad to hear about Sean Hughes. Was lucky to enjoy his company on a few occasions over the years. A witty, gracious, kind and gentle soul.”
David Schneider said he was “an engagingly funny man.”
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