Gerry Ryan partner tells of 'void'
The partner of late broadcaster Gerry Ryan has spoken of the void in her life on the eve of the first anniversary of his death.
Melanie Verwoerd, the head of Unicef Ireland, revealed she has been left with heartbreak and sadness as she continues to mourn his passing on April 30 last year.
The charity boss said she feels extremely blessed to love, and have been loved by the 53-year-old, who died from heart failure after taking cocaine.
In a statement, Ms Verwoerd said: "It was an extraordinary privilege to have shared the last years of his life with him. Even though it was a very difficult time for him, we shared so much happiness, contentedness and fun.
"The 30th of April will always be filled with horrific memories and sadness for me - as it will be for all those who loved Gerry. However, I also want to remember the happy times and above all the great man that Gerry was - funny, clever, generous, kind and gentle.
"His insistence on living life to the full meant that he gave himself completely to everything and all that he came in contact with - leaving no one untouched."
Ryan was under massive personal and financial pressure when he collapsed and died at his home on Leeson Street Upper, Dublin 4.
The father of five was separated from his wife of 26 years, Morah. His family will hold a private memorial service in their local church in Clontarf on Saturday.
A coroner ruled traces of cocaine in his system had been likely to have triggered cardiac arrhythmia, leading to heart failure.
At the time a grief-stricken Ms Verwoerd, who had found his body, spoke of heartache at discovering his death was linked to cocaine after he promised to stay away from drugs during their two-year relationship.