Gallagher sings Royle Family song for Aherne

Noel Gallagher has dedicated the song used as The Royle Family theme tune to his friend Caroline Aherne, who created and starred in the television show.

The former Oasis frontman only discovered the actress and comedian had died a few hours before he took to the stage in Nashville on Saturday where he sang a moving version of Half The World Away.

He told the crowd at the Ryman Auditorium: "I want to dedicate the next song to a friend of mine who died this afternoon.

"Her name was Caroline and she was a very, very, very funny woman.

"She used this next song on a very, very, very, very brilliant sitcom in England called The Royle Family."

He finished by adding, "So, wherever you are," and pointing heavenward, before launching into the song.

The 49-year-old, who is touring with his band Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, had promised the tribute earlier on his Instagram account.

He shared a picture of Aherne with the caption, "RIP Kaz ... I shall sing for you tonight. (My god you made us laugh!)"

Aherne starred as Denise Best in The Royle Family, a sitcom that centred around a working class family sitting in their living room and which was toast of the 1999 British Comedy Awards, scooping four trophies including best actress for Aherne.

It also went on to take home the best sitcom BAFTA in 2000 and 2007.

Her co-star Ralf Little, who played brother Anthony in the BBC sitcom, shared a story about Gallagher's gesture on Twitter, writing: "Noel G on tour playing Half the World Away for Caroline. The Chief never lets you down."

Aherne died on Saturday at her home in Timperley, Greater Manchester, at the age of 52 after a battle with lung cancer.

She was also known for her chat show The Mrs Merton Show, which won a string of awards, and more recently she narrated Channel 4 show Gogglebox.

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