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Sunday 4 December 2016

Colleagues stunned as body of radio star Lyons found at home

Sports editor Johnny Lyons was in his 40s when he died
Sports editor Johnny Lyons was in his 40s when he died

Popular radio sports broadcaster Johnny Lyons was found dead in his home yesterday evening.

The body of the 98FM sports editor and presenter was discovered at his apartment in Dublin city centre after friends became concerned when they were unable to contact him. He died peacefully.

The deeply-respected sports journalist had been out of work recently because of a broken ankle, but was expected to return to the airwaves next week.

Aged in his 40s, he worked for the Dublin radio station for two decades.

He presented Now That's What I Call Sport on the station each Sunday from 9am to 10am.

Grief

The news of his sudden death stunned his friends and colleagues in the media and sporting worlds.

A statement of grief and shock was issued on behalf of the directors, management and staff of the station last night, who declared they were "heartbroken at the death of our dear colleague and great friend".

"Johnny died suddenly and peacefully at his home in Dublin," the statement said.

It declared "Johnny has been the backbone of our sports team for over 20 years. His distinctive voice and his passion for soccer defined Johnny for so many of his listeners.

"He was a talented presenter with a deep knowledge and love of sport and his Sunday morning programme Now that's What I Call Sport was a weekly date for so many Dubliners."

The chief executive of 98fm, Keith McCormack, issued a personal tribute.

"The entire station is devastated with the sudden passing of a beloved colleague," Mr McCormack said.

"Johnny, with his larger-than-life personality, was loved by all listeners and colleagues alike.

"He was a huge part of the 98FM family and will be dearly missed.

"We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family at this time. May he rest in peace," he added.

The station is planning to pay tribute to Johnny on air over the next few days.

The cause of his death was not reported last night, but foul play was not suspected.

The popular broadcaster had spoken in the past of his regime for keeping fit and healthy, which involved regular visits to the gym. He also spoke of being born with bronchitis and battling bronchial problems throughout his youth.

The broadcaster was a familiar contributor to Today FM's Premier League Live show.

Highlights

He began his 98fm career in 1996. He was taken on initially after station chiefs were deeply impressed with a demo tape he delivered to the station.

He said one of his most satisfying career highlights was his interview with former Celtic striker John Hartson, which was broadcast after the footballers battle with cancer. The interview was highly praised in media circles.

Many media colleagues last night declared their shock and sadness at his passing.

Newstalk presenter Jonathan Healy tweeted, "What awful news this evening about Johnny Lyons. Such a big character in Irish radio. RIP".

Hugh Cahill of 2fm said Mr Lyons gave him his start in radio and was "a wonderful guy to have known".

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