RTE DJ admits error announcing the death of Wings guitarist, after he suffered heart attack
Published 08/11/2012 | 05:00
THE 'death' of the legendary musician had been wrongly announced by broadcaster Ronan Collins on his lunchtime RTE radio show yesterday.
The former Wings guitarist Henry McCullough is in hospital fighting for his life after suffering a massive heart attack.
RTE's Ronan Collins told his listeners to his midday show that the musician had passed away.
However, an hour later Collins appeared on the 'Liveline' programme to tell listeners the guitarist had not passed away but had been rushed to hospital.
"Nothing has ever happened to me like this before and all I can say is that it was a mistake, but one made having observed all the correct protocols," Collins told the Irish Independent.
The RTE presenter had been acting on a tip-off text message from a listener which led him to a BBC website which confirmed the news that McCullough had passed away.
"BBC Radio Foyle had announced it too. Having had Henry on my show a few weeks before I felt it important to tell listeners at 12.30pm," Collins said.
But within minutes the BBC corrected their story to say that McCullough remained alive. Collins then said it was his own decision to go on 'Liveline'.
"By 1.45pm we put it right on RTE. I know Henry from the showband days, he's a friend. We're all thinking of him and wishing him well," added Collins.
McCullough, in his late 60s, collapsed at his home in Coleraine, Co Derry where he was attended by his partner Josie, while medics and an ambulance rushed to the scene.
One of Paul McCartney's favourites in the early days of Wings, McCullough rallied in hospital and is now on a ventilator.
"There was some misinformation at first and we were told Henry had died," said his friend, BBC presenter Alan Simpson.
McCullough launched his career on the Irish showband scene. He was persuaded by McCartney to join his post-Beatles band Wings, but after 18 months decided there was no place like home and returned to his roots in Northern Ireland.