Freddie Starr’s carer has told of how she found him dead in his Spanish apartment after he spent his sad final days as a penniless recluse.
Former nurse Nelly Georgieva spoke after an autopsy found the 76-year-old comedian, who earned millions as one of the biggest TV stars of the 1970s and 1980s, died of a heart attack.
She revealed he had been rushed to hospital twice in the past four years – including just before Christmas, when he was struggling to breathe.
Nelly claimed he was in such poor shape he could not go to the toilet or shower unaided – and he appeared to have lost touch with all of his family, including his six kids.
And the tragic star, who rarely spoke of his once-glittering career, was so skint his electricity was cut off last year after he failed to pay a €2,000 (£1,725) bill.
Sitting in the front yard of Starr’s home in Mijas, Costa del Sol, Nelly told of finding him slumped dead in his living room on Thursday afternoon.
She said: “On Thursday morning I made Freddie a cup of tea and a Spanish omelette and we had breakfast together.
“At about 1.45pm, I went out to do some jobs. When I went out he was sitting in his chair watching Fox News on TV with Charlie his cat.
“When I got back in at 3.30pm I found him slumped on the floor by the chair.
“I tried to lift him but realised he was cold and all of the colour had drained out of him, so I realised he was dead.
“He wasn’t naked as has been claimed, he was still clothed as when I left him.”
Nelly, 46 and from Bulgaria, started working for Starr four years ago after asking about jobs in a nearby bar.
Within days, she visited his home to do some cleaning before helping him with a doctor’s visit and shopping. She then agreed to work as his full-time carer in return for free accommodation.
She said: “There was never anything between us romantically and he was respectful and never tried anything. He was an elderly man in need of a carer.
“Most days he was happy but on his birthday in January he was very sad.
“I bought him a shirt which he liked and he said, ‘I wish I’d met you 10 years ago’. He didn’t mean it in a romantic way, just that I looked after him.”
Speaking of how she had feared for Starr’s health, Nelly said: “The doctors warned Freddie he had to stop smoking.
“He smoked 40 to 60 cigarettes a day. I was trying to get him to stop. I would tell him he was going to kill himself.
“He would say, ‘You’re my f*****g angel’.
“I thought straight away he had died of a heart attack.
“His heart and lungs were suffering but he didn’t want to die.
“His health has been very bad. He had to be taken to hospital by ambulance twice in the last four years, including just before Christmas because he was struggling to breathe.
“He had to stay in two to three days. I wanted him to stay longer but he wasn’t a good hospital patient and told the doctors he wanted to be home.
“I was worried he would die but he said, ‘Don’t worry, ‘I’m not gonna f*****g die’.
“He laughed it off and then turned round and said, ‘What’s going to happen if you go before me? Who will look after me?’.
“He was taking three tablets a day, one for his heart, one for circulation and one to sleep.
“It was very difficult for him to walk. He could walk a little bit in the house but he could barely walk outside. It was a real struggle on his heart.
“In the last six months I had to do everything for him, including showering him and taking him to the toilet, because I was scared he would fall.
“In the beginning he was embarrassed but I said, ‘I’m a nurse, I’m used to seeing people naked’.”
Starr, who had a quadruple bypass in 2010 after a heart attack, burst on to the comedy scene after appearing in talent show Opportunity Knocks and the 1970 Royal Variety Performance.
He was soon among the highest-paid stars on TV.
But his career tailed off in the 90s and he made failed comeback attempts on shows including I’m A Celebrity.
Starr was then was plagued by claims of sex abuse as he was probed under Operation Yewtree in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Although he was never charged, he said it made him consider suicide and in 2015 he moved to Mijas, an area popular with retired Brits.
Revealing she had no idea who Starr was when she started working for him, Nelly said: “I didn’t know he was a famous man in England for a long time.
“He never told me about his career until we had known each other for about two years.
“One day he said, ‘Put Freddie Starr into YouTube’. I couldn’t believe it, the first video I saw was him singing a Roy Orbison song. I had had no idea about his fame until then.”
It also emerged yesterday that Starr, who left the UK after losing a libel battle against a woman he tried to sue for defamation, owed thousands in community fees and water bills at his home.
Speaking of his cash woes, Nelly said: “I knew he didn’t have any money. He lived very frugally.
“That was why I was even more surprised when I found out he was famous. It was a real shock to me. I thought he was a normal British pensioner.
“As far as I know, the only money he had was his pension.
“There was a day last year when we had a day without electricity because it hadn’t been paid for three years. The bill was around €2,000, which I paid.
“I didn’t know about the other debts until a man started shouting at me outside the apartment, saying ‘This man doesn’t pay!’.”
On Starr’s family, Nelly added: “He mentioned he had a son and a daughter but he spoke very little about them. He said, ‘Let’s not talk about my family. It causes me pain’. I respected that.”
Meanwhile, it emerged Starr was still married to fourth wife Sophie Lea when he died – despite them splitting in 2015.
Speaking from her home in Warwickshire, Sophie, who had been trying to divorce the star for years, said: “Although we broke up a long time ago, I was devastated to hear of Freddie’s death.
“Although we had our differences, that’s all water under the bridge now.
“I’d like to be left alone now to just remember him for the fantastic comedian he was and the pleasure he brought to his millions of fans.”
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