- 05 Nov 19
Iconic figures across all areas of Irish life are paying tribute to the legendary broadcaster.
Tributes have continued to pour in for Gay Byrne, following the news of his death yesterday, November 4. The veteran broadcaster, who had been ill for some time, died peacefully at his home, and is survived by his wife Kathleen, and their daughters, Crona and Suzy.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Fintan O'Toole, Stefanie Preissner, Piers Morgan and Hot Press editor Niall Stokes were among those who shared their memories of the iconic broadcaster yesterday – with even more celebrities and prominent Irish figures paying tribute in the meantime.
President Michael D. Higgins described Byrne as "someone who exuded warmth and presence".
"Gay Byrne was someone who exuded warmth and presence, who was possessed of effortless wit, charm and who had a flair for broadcasting."
Statement by President Higgins on the death of Gay Byrne: https://t.co/P3WbkIDiqi
(Photo: RTÉ) pic.twitter.com/OJ22xYcttE
— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) November 4, 2019
Hozier, who is currently touring in the US, said Byrne will be "a lasting presence in people's hearts and minds".
Very sad to hear of the passing of Gay Byrne, the man is such an important figure in the landscape of modern Irish culture. Not only a lasting icon of Irish television but a lasting presence in people's hearts and minds also. Rest in Peace, and love to his family.
— Hozier (@Hozier) November 5, 2019
Graham Norton described Byrne as "generous, funny, informed but more than anything else, completely at ease on air."
So very sad to hear about the passing of Gay Byrne. He was a giant in broadcasting. He showed us all how it should be done. Generous, funny, informed but more than anything else, completely at ease on air. My thoughts are with Kathleen, the girls and a nation that adored him. G x
— graham norton (@grahnort) November 4, 2019
Footballer Paul McGrath remembered the broadcaster as "a man who has always been so kind to me over my career."
So sad to hear of the passing of Gay Byrne, a man who has always been so kind to me over my my career.
Thank you for everything my friend, Rest In Peace. Love to Kathleen and all Gays family. 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/H4jFrjrgkV
— Paul McGrath (@Paulmcgrath5) November 4, 2019
Roisin Ingle noted that Byrne "made this country a better place."
I loved Gay Byrne. I told him that every time I saw him. He made this country a better place. Nobody else could have got us talking the way he did. He changed us forever, for the better. I am very sad. I’ll always be grateful ❤️#GayByrne pic.twitter.com/an6MGkab8E
— Roisin Ingle (@roisiningle) November 4, 2019
Panti Bliss also paid tribute to "Dr Gay".
Few years ago, did an interview with Gay (for Would You Believe) and after he quietly said he'd noticed me make lots of tiny burps/gulps when speaking
"You should get that checked, could be something"
So I did
And thats how Gay diagnosed my hiatus hernia
RIP Dr Gay pic.twitter.com/NAKLsdYSga
— Dr Panti Bliss-Cabrera (@PantiBliss) November 4, 2019
The Cranberries noted that "Gay was always very supportive of Dolores and us and Always made us feel welcome and at ease".
We were very saddened to hear that Irish TV and radio presenter Gay Byrne passed away today. Gay was always very supportive of Dolores and us and Always made us feel welcome and at ease whenever we were on his show.
— The Cranberries (@The_Cranberries) November 4, 2019
Imelda May shared that Byrne was a "wonderful man who made me feel safe and genuinely cared for during each interview".
The wonderful Gay Byrne died today. I will miss this wonderful man who made me feel safe and genuinely cared for during each interview. He was both compassionate and a pro! My heartfelt condolences to his loving family. #GayByrne #Gaybo #gaybyrneRIP pic.twitter.com/r3tjzjAd8O
— Imelda May (@ImeldaOfficial) November 4, 2019
The Waterboys' Mike Scott paid tribute to the "mighty Gay Byrne".
Travel onward well, mighty Gay Byrne.
— Mike Scott (@MickPuck) November 4, 2019
Dermot O'Leary described him as "a titan".
Ah man, this guy was a titan. RIP Gay Byrne. Candles lit x https://t.co/HQTaOpN9OI
— Dermot O'Leary (@radioleary) November 4, 2019
Byrne's fine feathered friend and RTÉ colleague, Dustin The Turkey, also took to Twitter to share that he is "unbelievably proud" to have worked alongside him.
Gay Byrne will never be bettered. Ireland’s greatest ever broadcaster, he could do it all - challenge the strong, champion the weak, entertain the masses and even sometimes pretend he didn’t adore me. I’m sad today but unbelievably proud that I got to work with him.#RIPGaybyrne pic.twitter.com/p45G3D5uS2
— Dustin The Turkey (@DustinOfficial) November 4, 2019
Revisit Gay Byrne's 1986 Hot Press cover story here.