Family believes Ryan died from 'massive heart attack'


RTÉ BROADCASTER Gerry Ryan died suddenly in the early hours of Friday morning from a massive heart attack, his family believe.

A postmortem is not due to be carried out until tomorrow because of the bank holiday weekend.

Family spokeswoman Joanne Byrne said it was “as confident as it could be without actually knowing the results of the autopsy that it was a massive heart attack.

“There are rumours out there, but there is no reason or cause to believe it is anything else other than being a heart attack.”

Ms Byrne added Ryan had been feeling “quite stressed” on Thursday when he called in sick and said he would not be presenting his usual 2fm programme on Friday morning.

Fellow RTÉ broadcaster Marian Finucane said she had noticed how stressed he was when she and her husband had dinner with him and his partner Melanie Verwoerd on Tuesday night.

“He was stressed about RTÉ. He was stressed about other things outside his life and I know that when people try to figure out what happened . . . I have heard a number of people mention that it [stress] might have been what caused difficulty for him.”

Livelinepresenter Joe Duffy said on the Late Late Showon Friday night that he thought it was strange that Ryan had confided during his interview with Heather Mills, broadcast on RTÉ1 television on Thursday, that he had “two artic truckloads full of regrets”.

Duffy was quite bemused by this. “I said he couldn’t have two truckloads of regrets.”

The postmortem on Ryan (53), who was found dead in his apartment on Friday afternoon, is likely to be carried out tomorrow afternoon.

If it is successfully completed, it is anticipated that his body will be taken to the family home in Clontarf tomorrow night.

The removal is due to take place on Wednesday evening and the funeral on Thursday morning, but the location has not been decided yet.

“The problem is that there has been a bank holiday weekend and there is a process that has to be gone through,” Ms Byrne said. “Given the current economic climate, it would not be appropriate to be seen to do favours when there are other families who are in a similar situation and are waiting for autopsies for their loved ones too.”

A statement on behalf of Ryan’s wife Morah and the couple’s five children on Saturday night said they were “heartbroken” by his premature death, but they had taken comfort from all the messages of support and condolences.

Yesterday evening more than 40,000 people had signed on to “RIP Gerry Ryan” Facebook page while 2fm has received thousands of e-mails and texts.

The station has not decided yet who will fill the critical three-hour radio slot that Ryan filled and a decision on a temporary substitute will have to be made later today.

A book of condolences will open at the Mansion House in Dublin from noon today for three days.