The comedian quits show after pal is rushed to hospital

Distraught Russell Brand pulled out of the British Comedy Awards at the weekend after a close friend was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

The comedian, who bagged an award for Outstanding Contributuion To Comedy, flew to New York a few days ago to give support to pal Martino Sclavi.

The film producer, 39, was admitted to hospital on Wednesday after experiencing severe head pains and Russell wanted to be at his beside.

It was quickly arranged for the Get Him To The Greek star to pick up his prize via video link.

‘I’m really sorry I couldn’t be there. One of my friends is really ill and I couldn’t travel,’ Russell told the audience at London’s O2 Arena.

‘Thanks

for my award, you beautiful British bastards. Comedy is our best

defence against pain. In conjunction with medical expertise
,’ he later Tweeted.

Read the full list of Britsh Comedy Award winners>>

SEE PHOTO GALLERY Russell Brand and Katy Perry – a love story in pictures>>