Composer Sean O Riada died from 'genetic liver weakness'
A GENETIC liver weakness led to the death of one of the country's greatest composers at the age of 40.
The cause of Sean O Riada's early death is revealed in a new documentary produced by RTE with the support of the O Riada family.
O Riada died in October 1971, just two months after his 40th birthday, and at the height of his fame.
He earned worldwide acclaim for his musical score for the film 'Mise Eire', and for popularising sean nos-style singing.
The revival of Irish traditional music is, in large part, now attributed to the Cork-born composer.
However, O Riada died before he could complete the final portion of his great orchestral work, 'Nomos'.
The documentary will be broadcast on TG4 next Monday and is called 'Litir od Mhac' (A Letter from Your Son).
It features O Riada's son Peadar talking for the first time about his father.
The documentary, produced and directed by RTE Nuacht journalist Grett O'Connor, marks the 40th anniversary of Sean O Riada's death.
Peadar O Riada says excessive drinking was not the reason for his father's premature death.
He revealed that his father had an inherited genetic condition which weakened his liver.
This also meant that his liver was effectively unable to process alcohol.
"We wanted to do something different to mark what would have been Sean O Riada's 80th birthday and, thanks to Peadar O Riada, we have told the story of a remarkable man," Ms O'Connor told the Irish Independent.
The documentary will be officially launched tomorrow at the Oireachtas na Samhna festival in Killarney, Co Kerry.