Hollyoaks' Andy Newton-Lee 'gutted' he missed Melissa Ede's funeral due to coma

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TV soap star Andy Newton-Lee says he is “gutted” he missed the funeral of lottery winner and close friend Melissa Ede after collapsing in his car and being put into a coma.

The former Hollyoaks actor was diagnosed with pneumonia after being found near his LA home.

The episode meant he missed saying goodbye to the £4million jackpot winner and LGBT activist, who was laid to rest on Thursday.

The pair became friends 15 years ago when Melissa, a taxi driver, regularly picked him up.

Paying tribute on Instagram , Andy, 38, from Hull, wrote: “Goodnight, my darling Mel.

“I hope you get the inner peace you deserve.

“From being Hull’s favourite transsexual taxi driver with very little, to your £4million lottery win and new family, I feel privileged to have been your friend.”

Andy Newton-Lee did not realise how serious his own health problem was getting

The actor said: “You were a true A-lister. Hullywood has lost an icon and its own quirky Cinderella tale.”

He said he would pay his respects to Melissa, who died of a heart attack aged 58, once he was back in the UK, adding: “I’m absolutely gutted.

“I’ve spoken to Rachel (Mel’s fiancee) and will go and see her.”

Before he fell ill, Andy, who has also starred in Casualty and Coronation Street , said he’d been “burning the candle at both ends” travelling between LA and the UK.

“I’ve had flu but thought I was just run down. I’ve been really stressed with my business.”

“I’d been sleeping next to the ocean in my car – it’s nice, it’s like being at the Humber Bridge, my dad used to do it,” he said.

But he admitted if he hadn’t been found by a passer-by he’d be dead.

“I woke up yesterday and felt very erratic but I’m much better today.

“The care here has been amazing and I feel very lucky,” the star added.

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