herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Bill's letter to Morah after Gerry's death

BILL Clinton wrote a letter to Morah Ryan after her husband Gerry’s death, it has emerged today.

The former US president sympathised with Morah and the couple’s children over their loss. On hearing of Gerry’s tragic death, Mr Clinton sought out the family home address and sent a “lovely letter” to Morah.

Irish hotelier John Fitzpatrick has described how he was approached by Mr Clinton in New York, shortly after Gerry passed away in April.

“Bill came up to me and asked was it true about Gerry’s untimely death. Then he asked me for Gerry’s home address,” he said.

Mr Fitzpatrick himself had just returned from Gerry's funeral. He was approached by Bill Clinton at the Ireland Fund where Bono was being honoured.

Morah confirmed afterwards that "she received a lovely letter off Bill Clinton", added the hotelier.

John Fitzpatrick said Gerry Ryan had forged a link with the Clintons when he introduced them in his New York hotel.

"Gerry absolutely loved the Clintons and I remember ringing him to come over for a fundraiser for them.

"U2 were also in town doing a gig on the top of the MTV building. I rang Gerry and he thought he might get an interview.

"I will never ever forget that weekend. We sat up drinking with the Clintons on the Friday night and then joined U2 on the Saturday night.

"Gerry had a way of being able to get to someone without being pushy and the Clintons felt very comfortable with Gerry, so he got his interview. These are the kind of times you remember with Gerry," he said.

Gerry Ryan was one of a select number of dinner guests when Bill Clinton came to Dublin in 2007 to raise funds for wife Hillary. The tickets for the event were €1,600 a head.

He also attended a fundraiser for the Clintons in New York back in 2003 -- it is believed Gerry and Morah were on first-name terms with the couple.

The popular 53-year-oldbroadcaster was found dead on April 30 of this year in his apartment on Upper Leeson Street in Dublin.





partner

He was found dead by his partner, Melanie Verwoerd, who had become concerned when she did not hear from him that morning.

He is survived by his wife Morah and their five children, Lottie (24), Rex (20), Bonnie (17), Elliot (14) and Babette (10).

His funeral, which was broadcast on RTE, attracted a huge gathering of loyal listeners, celebrities and friends.

John Fitzpatrick got to know Gerry and his family when they stayed in his Manhattan hotel on Lexington Avenue and he welled up as he described his 20-year friendship with the broadcaster.

"When I moved to America I got to know more Irish people than when I lived in Ireland and Gerry Ryan would come over with his family each summer for his annual trip to Disneyland.

"He always stayed with me, either before or after, and that's how we became friendly. Even if he was coming with other friends and someone else decided they were staying somewhere else, Gerry would still book in here, he was very loyal like that" he said.

The hotelier described the "huge shock for people on this side of the Atlantic" when Gerry died. "With the internet many would listen to his radio station back home and he was so well known amongst the Irish here."

He said he still gets the odd flashbacks of great nights they had together. "He was larger than life," he said.

hnews@herald.ie

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