herald

Sunday 24 September 2017

'You never imagine that you'll have to bury your brother so young'

Gerry Ryan's brother Mike has spoken of his utter devastation at the family's loss.

He paid the emotional tribute today as the legendary broadcaster and journalist was laid to rest in Dublin.

As heartbroken family and friends gathered at St John the Baptist Church, in Clontarf, Mike described the grief that he and the Ryan family were going through.

In an interview with the Herald, Mr Ryan, described the emotions in the Ryan family home in Clontarf as Morah Ryan and the couple's five children, Lottie, Rex, Bonnie, Elliot, Babette, and other family and friends waked their beloved Gerry.

"We're devastated," he said. "It's an emotional night. You never imagine that you'll have to bury your brother so young. Having so many people around to share the pain with has been an enormous help.

"Gerry would have loved to see all his old friends and colleagues coming out for him."

Inside the house, the star's estranged wife Morah and her children were joined by the icon's many friends and colleagues around his casket as they reminisced and shared stories about his eventful life.

Gerry (53) was laid out in a black Louis Copeland suit, wearing a pair of glasses, which had become a trademark of his appearance in recent years.

The broadcaster's partner of 18 months, Melanie Verwoerd, chose to visit the house early in the day to say her final farewell in private to the man she described just days ago as her "love".

Roses

The grief-stricken Unicef boss, sporting sunglasses, arrived in a black BMW shortly after 2pm. She was carrying a bunch of white roses.

She stayed just seven minutes before departing with tears streaming down her face.

The arrangement of flowers which Melanie brought for her partner was later placed on the railings outside the house, joining several other bouquets of flowers to be placed on Gerry's grave this afternoon.

The star's eldest two daughters, Lottie (24) and Bonnie (17), whom the mum-of-two is said to be close to, were not at home at the time, having left the house for a while. Gerry's eldest son, Rex (20), also put on a brave face to greet family friends as they arrived. Among those who paid their respects last night were the star's RTE colleagues, Pat Kenny, Ryan Tubridy and Dave Fanning, who spent several hours with their old pal, reliving their respective memories of his life. Panto star Twink was also feeling well enough after her recent hospital stay to come to the wake.

Gerry's devastated co-worker, Evelyn O'Rourke appeared distraught as she emerged from the house, while former colleague, Brenda Donoghue was also visibly shaken. Taoiseach Brian Cowen visited the family home at 7.30pm.

Other mourners included Joe Duffy, Robbie and Martina Fox, Ronan Collins, Pat Henry, Bertie Ahern, John Fitzpatrick, Mark Cagney, Marty Whelan, Siobhan Hough, Lisa Duffy and Colin Farrell's older brother, Eamon.

Many of the same people attended today's funeral Mass at the Church of St John the Baptist on Clontarf Road.

lnolan@herald.ie

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