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04 November 2019 20:37

John Bercow Sally Bercow Lindsay Hoyle

It was said there was no sex in Ireland until the The Late Late Show, and for that a nation owed thanks to Gay Byrne. Generations grew up watching the host of RTÉ's long-running chatshow blend light entertainment with current affairs and taboo-shattering moments, a cultural rendezvous that dominated Friday night viewing and presaged a new Ireland. The Gay Byrne era officially ended on Monday when he died at home in Dublin, surrounded by family, aged 85. "Through his work in radio and on television he challenged Irish society, and shone a light not only on the bright but also the dark sides of Irish life," said the president, Michael D Higgins. Leo Varadkar, the taoiseach, said: "The story of his remarkable contribution to Irish life is the story of how we changed and evolved as a society over the past 60 years.

Byrne hosted The Late Late Show from 1962 to 1999, one of the world's longest chatshow runs, as well as a radio show and other gigs such as the Rose of Tralee. Byrne seemed equally at home interviewing celebrities, children during the Christmas toy show or guests with stories about seldom-discussed topics such as divorce, abortion and sexual identity. Moya Doherty, the chair of RTÉ, said Byrne had worked during a golden age for television and radio when Ireland was grappling with change. Micheál Martin, the leader of Fianna Fáil, said Byrne had left an indelible mark on Irish society. (CNN) Veteran Irish broadcaster Gay Byrne has died aged 85, his longtime employer RTÉ announced on Monday.

The network said Byrne, who hosted "The Late Late Show" for almost four decades and presented a morning show on Irish radio until 1999, had been ill "for some time. In a statement to RTÉ, his family said: "It is with sadness that Kathleen, Crona and Suzy wish to announce that their beloved Gay has died peacefully at home today, surrounded by his family. "The Late Late Show" became one of the world's longest-running talk shows after Byrne became its first host in 1962. IRISH RTE chat show legend and Late, Late Show host Gay Byrne has died aged 85 today. The veteran broadcaster, who hosted the programme for more than 30 years, died after a long illness.

8 RTE broadcaster Gay Byrne has died aged 85 Credit: Alamy 8 Byrne presented the Late, Late Show for years on Ireland's RTE Credit: Getty - Contributor Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today led tributes to the iconic TV and radio host, who died peacefully at home. Mr Varadkar tweeted: "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. "On radio and on television over so many decades 'Uncle Gaybo' provided a voice for all those who had been silenced or were afraid to speak up, and helped us confront things that needed to be changed." In a statement released today, Byrne's family said the broadcast colossus died surrounded by relatives. His family said: "We wish to thank everybody for their love and support during Gay's illness. He hosted the first episode of the Late, Late, Show in Juy, 1962 and was the programme's presenter for 37 years.

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She said: "We are all greatly saddened by the passing of Gay Byrne who has been a household name in this country for so many years. "Gay's journalistic legacy is as colossal as the man himself - he not only defined generations, but he deftly arbitrated the growth and development of a nation. 8 Gay Byrne also hosted a long-running RTE Radio 1 show 8 He tackled controversial subjects like divorce, sexuality and religion for more than three decades as the presenter of the Late, Late Show Credit: Getty - Contributor "Ireland grew up under Gay Byrne, and we will never see his like again. During his time on the Late, Late Show he hosted discussions on controversial topics like divorce, abortion, sexuality and The Troubles in Northern Ireland. He won fans for his easy-going interview style, and also presented a long-running show on RTE Radio 1, the Gay Byrne Show. Byrne, who died in Howth surrounded by his family, was described as a man "of great charisma" by Ireland's president Michael D Higgins. Mr Higgins added: "Gay Byrne was someone who exuded warmth and presence, who was possessed of effortless wit, charm and who had a flair for broadcasting. "This was combined with an innate gentleness as a person, professionalism and humour. Gay Byrne was someone who exuded warmth and presence, who was possessed of effortless wit, charm and who had a flair for broadcasting Irish President, Michael Higgins "Through his work in radio and on television he challenged Irish society, and shone a light not only on the bright but also the dark sides of Irish life. The Late, Late Show is now one of the world's longest running chat shows. Byrne hosted his final show in 1999, a year after retiring from his radio programme. Fianna Fail Leader Micheal Martin said Mr Byrne had "left an indelible mark...on Irish society as a whole" He added: "Through his radio programme and TV shows, including his 37 years as host of The Late Late Show, Gay was a feature in Irish homes the length and breadth of the country. "Through his radio programme and TV shows, including his 37 years as host of The Late Late Show, Gay was a feature in Irish homes the length and breadth of the country. "Gay Byrne was a rare treasure who touched the lives, not only of his family and friends, but the hundreds of thousands of people who welcomed him into their lives and their homes on the radio and TV." 8 Gay Byrne spent 30 years at the helm of the Late Late Show, interviewing star like Gabriel Byrne Credit: Getty Images - Getty 8 The iconic broadcaster is seen here Irish Film and Television Awards at Convention Centre Dublin Credit: Getty - Contributor 8 Tributes have poured into him today after he died at his family home Credit: Getty - Contributor Irish broadcaster Gay Byrne has died at the age of 85 after a long illness, RTE said (Brian Lawless/PA) Irish broadcaster Gay Byrne dies after long illness BelfastTelegraph.co.uk Irish broadcaster Gay Byrne has died at the age of 85 after a long illness, RTE said. -ireland/irish-broadcaster-gay-byrne-dies-after-long-illness-38659151.html -9e44-40a1-a688-945130be6501_1 Irish broadcaster Gay Byrne has died at the age of 85 after a long illness, RTE said. The RTE broadcaster and former Late Late Show host had been undergoing treatment for cancer. RTE director-general Dee Forbes paid tribute to Mr Byrne. "We are all greatly saddened by the passing of Gay Byrne who has been a household name in this country for so many years," she said. "Gay was an exceptional broadcaster whose unique and ground-breaking style contributed so much to the development of radio and television in this country. "Ireland grew up under Gay Byrne and we will never see his like again. Gay Byrne, a great friend, colleague and broadcasting legend. For a time he commuted between Dublin and UK, working for both the BBC and RTE, but came back to Ireland full-time in the late 1960s as presenter and producer of The Late Late Show. Gay Byrne was someone who exuded warmth and presence, who was possessed of effortless wit, charm and who had a flair for broadcasting Michael D Higgins He also presented a long-running radio show on RTE Radio 1, first known as The Gay Byrne Hour and then The Gay Byrne Show. Over his long career Gay presented The Rose of Tralee, The Calor Housewife of the Year competition, as well as a range of special programmes. He presented his final daily radio show in 1998 and his final Late Late Show the following summer. 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. Mr Higgins added: "Gay Byrne was someone who exuded warmth and presence, who was possessed of effortless wit, charm and who had a flair for broadcasting. "This was combined with an innate gentleness as a person, professionalism and humour. "Through his work in radio and on television he challenged Irish society, and shone a light not only on the bright but also the dark sides of Irish life. Broadcaster Ryan Tubridy was among those who paid tribute to Mr Byrne. "We in RTE have lost a friend, a family have lost a father and a husband and the country has lost an icon." Fianna Fail Leader Micheal Martin said: "Gay Byrne has left an indelible mark, not only on Irish broadcasting, but on Irish society as a whole. "Through his radio programme and TV shows, including his 37 years as host of The Late Late Show, Gay was a feature in Irish homes the length and breadth of the country. "His intellect and emotional intelligence was unparalleled and his ability to sensitively approach delicate and sometimes controversial issues set him apart from other presenters. "Gay Byrne was a rare treasure who touched the lives, not only of his family and friends, but the hundreds of thousands of people who welcomed him into their lives and their homes on the radio and TV."