Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 18 April 2015

Bono and stars pay tribute to 'true icon' Ronnie Drew

Bono has paid his own special tribute to Ronnie Drew on the band's website.

"Ronnie has left his earthly tour for one of the heavens... they need him up there... it's a little too quiet and pious," wrote the U2 frontman.

"God is lonely for a voice louder than His own.

"Weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs... that's what I loved about Ronnie Drew's voice and spirit. Music to inspire, to console... an optimism that was contagious... that's what U2 took from The Dubliners."

Fellow Dubliner John Sheahan said that when you had known and worked with someone for over 46 years it was like a member of a family had passed away.

Mr Sheahan told RTE radio that while Ronnie had a gruff exterior, behind it was a very caring and sensitive man.

"He was an absolutely unique character, a one-off. He had a wonderful sense of humour, very sharp wit, a great man to put down a heckler in the audience. It's been a privilege and a great pleasure to work with the man over all those years."

Singer and song writer Phil Coulter described Ronnie as a gentleman who had great passion for words, literature and history who was also terrific company.

"He was supremely gracious and apart from his talent he was a fine man," he said. "He really was a true icon, one of the most recognisable faces and voices in the country. "Nobody ever called him Mr Drew. He was Ronnie to everybody."

Singer Andrea Corr said Ronnie and the Dubliners were inspirational in the 1960s and 1970s and notably managed to break the international music market. This paved the way for groups like The Corrs and she and the band would always be grateful for that, she said.

Sinead O'Connor, who met Ronnie and performed with him on several occasions, said she adored him. She was happy for him because he had been ill for a long time and could now finally be with his wife, Deirdre again.

Cancer specialist Professor John Crown, who treated Ronnie, said he bore his final illness with great courage and dignity.

"He was a great source of humour and good cheer to other patients on the unit," Prof Crown said.

Chris de Burgh described his death as a great loss to Ireland and to music.

Fellow singer Christy Moore said Ronnie was an inspiration to him when he was starting out in music. He was privileged to have been welcomed into Ronnie's family home and he would miss his dear friend.

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