News broke this afternoon that renowned broadcaster Gay Byrne passed away at the age of 85. The original and longest-serving host of 'The Late Late Show' had a career spanning six decades in Irish broadcasting.
As well as the 'Late Late', Byrne presented a long-running radio show on RTÉ Radio 1, first known as 'The Gay Byrne Hour' and then 'The Gay Byrne Show'. He also hosted 'The Rose of Tralee' for a number of years, as well as 'Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?', 'The Calor Housewife of the Year' and most recently, 'The Meaning of Life'.
A special live edition of 'The Late Late Show' will air in tribute to Gay Byrne tomorrow night on RTÉ One at 9.35pm.
Tributes have been pouring in for Gay with the broadcaster now trending across Twitter in Ireland and worldwide.
"Gay Byrne was someone who exuded warmth and presence, who was possessed of effortless wit, charm and who had a flair for broadcasting."
Statement by President Higgins on the death of Gay Byrne: https://t.co/P3WbkIDiqi
(Photo: RTÉ) pic.twitter.com/OJ22xYcttE
— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) November 4, 2019
Gay Byrne was the most influential broadcaster in the history of the State, a much-loved figure who changed Ireland for the better in so many ways. I knew him when he was Chairman of @RSAIreland and saw the effectiveness of his campaign against the needless tragedy of road deaths
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) November 4, 2019
So very sad to hear about the passing of Gay Byrne. He was a giant in broadcasting. He showed us all how it should be done. Generous, funny, informed but more than anything else, completely at ease on air. My thoughts are with Kathleen, the girls and a nation that adored him. G x
— graham norton (@grahnort) November 4, 2019
Very sad to hear of the death of Gay Byrne. Hard to explain how huge a presence he was in Ireland for 40+ years; a legendary, instinctual broadcaster; that rarest thing, a gifted listener; and an interviewer of huge emotional intelligence. An enormous life.
— Dara Ó Briain (@daraobriain) November 4, 2019
At Glasgow Airport rt now waiting to fly home,chatting to Irish people&we’re all united in feeling so sad.Gay was the world’s greatest ever broadcaster.He changed our country forever in such positive ways.He was also the kindest,funniest,most caring of men.Codladh sámh Gay. https://t.co/fYCX3fOIRo
— Miriam O'Callaghan (@MiriamOCal) November 4, 2019
RIP Gay Byrne, 85.
Ireland's greatest broadcaster.
A master of his craft & a charming, brilliant, hugely influential (in a good way) man.
Very sad news. pic.twitter.com/1rKWRQyNMw
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 4, 2019
RIP Gay Byrne
— Sinead O'Connor (AKA Shuhada Sadaqat) (@MagdaDavitt77) November 4, 2019
So sad to hear of the passing of Gay Byrne, a man who has always been so kind to me over my my career.
Thank you for everything my friend, Rest In Peace. Love to Kathleen and all Gays family. 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/H4jFrjrgkV
— Paul McGrath (@Paulmcgrath5) November 4, 2019
Very sad news about Gay Byrne..what an impact he had on our beautiful little island
— Simon Zebo (@SimonZebo) November 4, 2019
There will never be as towering a figure in Irish broadcasting as Gay Byrne was in his prime. The word legend is over-used but he was the real deal. RIP.
— Conor Pope (@conor_pope) November 4, 2019
Very sad news about Gay Byrne. Canvassing for same sex marriage, a woman was unsure and I asked if I could leave a leaflet. This was the next one. I saw her face instantly change, "he's voting yes?" and that was that. pic.twitter.com/je07Ryq7yG
— Daithi (@daithigor) November 4, 2019
Such sad news. #GayByrne brought wisdom, mischief & deep curiosity into my Dublin home as a child. His @RTELateLateShow not only bravely shattered taboos, but brought so many Irish families (including mine) together around the telly. Rest In Peace.
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) November 4, 2019
— Marty Whelan (@martylyricfm) November 4, 2019
— Ian Dempsey (@IanDempsey) November 4, 2019
Gay Byrne was one of the most significant and important figures of 20th century Ireland and the greatest broadcaster. And, as many of us discovered, very generous with his help too. RIP.
— Matt Cooper (@cooper_m) November 4, 2019
There’s not many people in this world who are worthy of the word awesome; for me, #Gaybo was. His versatility and fearlessness was quite something to behold. He influenced and changed our society in a way that may never be seen again. RIP #GayByrne
— Muireann O'Connell (@MuireannO_C) November 4, 2019
So sorry to hear of the passing of Gay Byrne. An absolute titan of Irish broadcasting who bravely blazed a trail for this society in so many ways. THE voice of my childhood, his radio show theme song will forever bring a warm glow
He did the state some service. RIP. #GayByrne pic.twitter.com/fLzov1QLVf
— 📻 Ed Smith 📻 (@EdTodayFM) November 4, 2019
Gay Byrne wasn’t a tv personality or an interviewer or a celebrity. He wasn’t even a talk show host. He was a force for change when no one else was willing/able to speak up. He was a game changer and the gold standard. There will never be anyone quite like him again. #RIPGayByrne
— Jarlath Regan (@Jarlath) November 4, 2019
Terribly sad news about Gay Byrne. A personal life highlight was when he presented me with bourbon creams on The Meaning of Life after I told him bourbon creams were like him - timeless and a classic. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. pic.twitter.com/Gjxds2ttxh
— Joanne O’ Riordan (@JoanneOR_Ox) November 4, 2019
Gay Byrne was just great.
A rare greatness that made other people shine brighter in his presence, that turned people into the best of themselves, that made them grow in the light of his warmth. “Enjoy every minute” he said. What a motto, what a man. #gaybyrne #rip pic.twitter.com/ER9vyy04ld
— Stefanie Preissner (@StefPreissner) November 4, 2019
Gay Byrne will never be bettered. Ireland’s greatest ever broadcaster, he could do it all - challenge the strong, champion the weak, entertain the masses and even sometimes pretend he didn’t adore me. I’m sad today but unbelievably proud that I got to work with him.#RIPGaybyrne pic.twitter.com/p45G3D5uS2
— Dustin The Turkey (@DustinOfficial) November 4, 2019
And finally... we are simply not able for sad Mr Tayto.
It's a sad day for the Nation. Rest in peace Gay pic.twitter.com/KB4A3W6UOI
— Mr.Tayto Ireland (@MrTaytoIreland) November 4, 2019