Gay 'hit by a bus with his cancer diagnosis', says old friend Joe
Joe Duffy has opened up about his friend Gay Byrne's cancer diagnosis, describing it as being "hit by a bus".
The Liveline presenter (61) praised the legendary broadcaster as someone who has had a great influence on him over his many years on the airwaves.
"Here is a man I saw striding out in November in his strong walking shoes, a man who never took a tablet in his life," Joe said.
"Then he was hit by a bus with the prostate cancer diagnosis and is now on more than 12 tablets a day. I've been with Gay a few times recently. His wife, Kathleen, and two daughters, Crona and Susie, are brilliant with him.
"There hasn't been a more influential figure in Irish media and I'm especially grateful to him," he told the RTE Guide.
Byrne previously served as Duffy's radio boss.
"Of course, we used to dread him coming up from the studio after the show. He'd ask 'who set up Mary Murphy?' and you didn't know what to expect. But Gay was always fair," he said.
Duffy, who is one of RTE's highest-paid stars, is an independent contractor with the station.
"That's the way RTE wants it. They want to be able to say 'good luck' this evening if that's what they decide," he said.
"But that's my job. I remember when I was first offered the Spirit Level scheduled for Sunday, I said it to Gay and he said 'yes' and I said 'Gay, I'm working Monday to Friday', and he said 'yes, that's what you do'. So I said 'yes'."
The broadcaster's work ethic is important to him and he has instilled it in his triplets, Ronan, Sean and Ellen.
"It's all about work ethic and my kids also have it," he said.
"They work on their summer holidays and two of them have worked in customer services. Sometimes people come to them saying, 'I'm going to ring Joe Duffy about this'."
Meanwhile, the Dubliner has ruled himself out of appearing on a potential second series of Dancing With The Stars.
"You can't do it if you're doing a daily radio programme," he said.