herald

Thursday 21 September 2017

Body of Gerry Ryan at family home ahead of funeral

The body of Irish broadcasting legend Gerry Ryan was last night bought back to the family home he once shared with his grief-stricken children and former wife.

A handful of neighbours gathered as the coffin of the popular presenter was carried in to the property in the leafy north Dublin suburb of Clontarf, where fans have placed dozens of floral tributes.

The 53-year-old reposed in the house overnight with his estranged wife Morah and their five devastated children.

Family spokeswoman Joanne Byrne revealed Ryan's loved ones were concentrating on giving him the send off he deserves at his funeral at the St John The Baptist Church - where his mother's funeral was held three years ago - at 11.30am on Thursday.

She said the family were trying to make it an occasion that would reflect who and what the DJ was.

"They are very conscious that although their grief is so private and they have lost their dad, they are sharing their loss with so many other people which actually does give them comfort," she said.

A former pirate radio DJ, Ryan was given his popular eponymous chat show on 2fm in 1988 and went on to become a household name, attracting a daily audience of more than 300,000 listeners.

Since the sudden death on Friday, thousands of stunned fans have signed books of condolence at the capital's RTE Radio studios and at the Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin Emer Costello.

Ms Byrne said while the Ryan family were still in shock and disbelief by his sudden death, they were aware of the queues of people signing books of condolences and of the 50,000 fans who joined a Facebook page in his honour.

Station boss John McMahon revealed Ryan's funeral will be broadcast live on 2fm, with a webcam streaming coverage online, because of the enormous response from fans since his death.

He said he felt the radio presenter's listeners would want to be part of the funeral service.

"From our point of view, radio was Gerry's life and we want to pay tribute to that so we will be broadcasting the sounds of the mass through 2fm," added Mr McMahon.

Ryan - who split from his wife after 26 years of marriage in March 2008 - was found dead on the floor of his bedroom in his Dublin flat by his partner, Melanie Verwoerd.

Gardai are not treating his death as suspicious.

© Press Association

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