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Gay Byrne in hospital after heart attack

Published 30/12/2015

Gay Byrne
Gay Byrne

Colleagues of Gay Byrne past and present have told of their shock at hearing the legendary broadcaster suffered a heart attack.

Byrne (81) was taken ill on Monday and rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital but is said to be making a good recovery.

RTE confirmed the news in a statement, saying the Byrne family have asked for privacy at this time.

“All his friends and colleagues across RTÉ are thinking of him and wish him all the best with his recovery,” it added.

This morning, RTE said Gay is continuing to make good progress according to family members.

Montrose stalwart Miriam O’Callaghan told the Herald she was shocked to hear the news.

“I was very shocked to hear the news, but I am absolutely overjoyed to hear that Gay is making a great recovery and my thoughts right now are just with Gay and Kathleen and the whole family, at this difficult time,” she said.

“Gay is the undisputed King of broadcasting, always was and always will be,” she added.

“But much more importantly, he is a wonderfully kind and caring and supportive colleague, and always great fun too, and right now I just wish him the fullest and speediest recovery,” Miriam said.

Former colleague and Late Late show host Pat Kenny also wished Gay well.

“I got a bit of a shock when I heard the news. He is a remarkable guy and he is in good health generally and all his walking and cycling will stand to him,” he said.

“I’m glad to hear he is reportedly doing well and I wish him well in his recovery,” he added.

Kenny took over from Gay Byrne’s 37 years at the helm of  The Late Late Show  in 1999.

While Byrne has been working less and enjoying retirement in recent years he has maintained his profile and continued to flex his interviewing might through his show ‘The Meaning of Life’ which probes the religious and spiritual beliefs of guests.

Past participants have included included Stephen Fry, Hozier, and Charles Spencer - the brother of Lady Diana Spencer.

Byrne has also been the previous chairman of the Road Safety Authority before retiring in 2014 while three years into his second five-year term.

He was never afraid to speak his mind in that role,  particularly about the dangers of speeding and drink driving.

Byrne previously suffered a terrifying health scare at his home in Sandymount in 2011.

The radio and TV host was rushed to St Vincent’s A&E after he suddenly found himself unable to breathe.

“I felt that my lungs were made of concrete and there was nothing going in. I thought I was going to die, I just couldn’t breathe,” he said at the time.  Aside from this former incident Byrne maintains that he has always enjoyed “robust good health all my life”.

Byrne spent this year’s festive period surrounded by his family and close friends.

“I will be at home,” he said earlier this month.

“I will just sit back, let Christmas happen and enjoy all the relaxing and festivities before The Meaning of Life starts back again.”

In a statement issued by RTÉ last night, his family said he is on the mend and asked for privacy at this time.

Conor Feehan and Kirsty Blake Knox, Irish Independent

Irish Independent

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