Inquiry continues into Ryan's death

 

A post-mortem will be carried out on Tuesday on the body of Gerry Ryan, the broadcaster who died on Friday.

Ryan's body was discovered in his apartment in Leeson Street Upper at around 12.30pm on Friday by his partner Melanie Verwoerd, who was alarmed when he was not at work and was not answering his phone.

She called to his apartment and with the help of a builder working nearby managed to break the lock on the hall door of the apartment and gain access.

Garda sources said Ryan (53) was found on the floor of his bedroom beside his bed. There were no visible injuries on his body and no signs of a break-in or any disturbance at the apartment.

About 1,000 people arrived at RTÉ today to sign books of condolence for Ryan, with almost 2,000 people signing the books yesterday.

Minister for Arts Mary Hanafin was one of the first to arrive at the RTÉ Radio Centre yesterday. "The nation has been shocked by such a sudden loss. He was not just a great broadcaster, he was a great entertainer," she said.

"The fact that he was in homes all over the country meant people thought they had a personal relationship with him.

"People are grieving for somebody they had not even met. People feel like he has been in their home. The country is not only in shock, but grieving for the loss of a great man."

Constance Byrne-Edodo fought back tears and clutched a copy of his autobiography. "I never knew him, but I felt that I knew him and that he was only a phone call away if I wanted him. Nobody will replace him, there is a void."

Peter Behan, who had phoned in once to complain about Ryan's take on the Mahon Tribunal, said the country had "lost a son, not a father. He was too young to be the nation's father".

Anastasia Leonard, who came with her two daughters to sign the book of condolence, described Ryan as the "heart and soul of Ireland. He will never be replaced."

Similar sentiments were expressed in the book of condolence. "Like most of the country, my trip to work will never be the same", "the man, the legend and everyone's best friend" and a "ray of colour in a grey world" were just some of the expressions of interest.

A separate book of condolence will open at the Mansion House in Dublin tomorrow.

Garda sources said there were no signs of a break-in or any disturbance at Ryan's apartment. The exact cause of death will not be established until after a postmortem is carried out.

His death has shocked his fans and RTÉ colleagues, many of whom struggled to hold back their tears on air on Friday.

On a tribute show on 2fm yesterday morning, U2’s Bono and Edge described him as the “nation’s weather vane” and a “great analyst of the country’s affairs”.

The band's manager Paul McGuinness praised the late broadcaster on RTÉ's Marian Finucane yesterday morning.

"He was an extraordinary larger than life, but he had extraordinary breadth and depth. He knew so much," he said. "The whole country is in mourning now. The country was in love with him."

Sean Haughey, who was a childhood friend of the broadcaster, described him as a great ambassador for North Dublin and praised Ryan's independence.

"He was a very independent thinker, independent in his views about politics or whatever the subject was. He didn't just go with the consensus," he said.

"He liked to live close to the edge, he did push things to the limit. He had that sense of danger; he liked that sense of danger and that as certainly evident in his teenage years...He took risks on air and people accepted it."

Writer John Banville described Ryan as "a marvellous storyteller, a marvellous raconteur".

"He struck me as being very much like an 18th century wit. He was very funny, but he was also very witty and there's a difference. His humour, which really appealed to me was very much language-based, he was alive to the comic possibilities of language, and the ambiguity of language," he said.

Gay Byrne, Joe Duffy, Dave Fanning, Pat Kenny and Brenda Donohue took part in a special Late Late Show on Friday night.

"Often he was overlooked in ways," Kenny said.

"There are talents of varying degrees which have come from RTE, I think it's been a great training ground for people. But I think with Mr Wogan and Mr Byrne, you are the holy trinity as far as I'm concerned."

The panel shared memories of Ryan throughout his career.

"What I remember most about him is his jollity, his sense of fun, his skit, his bloody minded awkwardness for the sake of being awkward to get at somebody and to rise them," Byrne said.

RTÉ director general Cathal Goan said it was a “moment of inexpressible grief” for the broadcaster. Ryan had been a fixture at RTÉ for nearly all his career and his 2FM Gerry Ryan Show, with more than 300,000 listeners every morning, made him the “rock” of the station, according to colleague Larry Gogan.

An emotional Joe Duffy described Ryan as the “boldest broadcaster in every sense of that word”. Gay Byrne described him as an “unconstrained spirit”.

Ryan was separated from his wife Morah, with whom he had five children. A brief statement from the family said they were in “complete shock”.