Comedian Phil Butler, 51, found dead in his bed on cruise ship near Portugal, inquest hears

An Essex comedian was found dead in his bed on a cruise ship, an investigation has found.

Phil Butler was working on a cruise ship near Lisbon, Portugal when he was tragically found dead.

The 51-year-old, who lived in Hertfordshire but was born and raised in Clacton, Essex, was with P&O Cruises at the time of his death on October 17, 2021.

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The cause of death has not yet been determined for Mr Butler when the Essex coroner in Chelmsford heard yesterday (December 2nd) that an autopsy had originally been carried out by Portuguese authorities.

Mr. Butler, referred to as a “great deed” by fellow comedians, made history as one of the first comedians ever to appear for front-line troops in Afghanistan.

At the hearing, coroner Marianne Robson said: “Phil Butler of Hertfordshire died on October 17th in Lisbon. He worked on a cruise ship and was found dead in bed.

“An autopsy was carried out in Portugal, but the cause of death was not disclosed.

“An autopsy at Colchester Mortuary found 1A not determined.”

Friends rushed to pay tribute to Mr. Butler after his death.

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Craig Revel-Horwood of Strictly Come Dancing wrote on Twitter: “My thoughts right now with family and friends of @philbutleruk.

“RIP a beautiful talented man. What a terrible shock. We worked on Panto Cinderella together and he was a wonderful friendly friend.

“We spent Christmas and New Years together and had a really fabulous time. I will miss you terribly.”

Comic Shaparak Khorsandi said, “Rest in peace Phil. Another of us left early.

“For 20 years I’ve looked at the running order when I arrive at a club and I’m ‘oh fab! Phil Butler’s on’. Such a laugh on the way. In Dubai I asked about his UFO tattoo and I loved the way he walked told the story. A class of action. “

John Archer tweeted, “I just heard we lost dear Phil Butler. So sad, a real lover of the stage.

Forensic doctor Michelle Brown told the court: “Due to the fact that an autopsy was performed in Portugal, an autopsy was not possible.” [in the UK].

“We need to contact P&O for documents to support the circumstances.

“There is no date to which this could be postponed. We can keep an eye on this.”

Coroner Brown said the court will contact Portuguese authorities for more information on Mr Butler’s cause of death.

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