Sunday 4 December 2016

Broadcasters show their support for 'survivor' Gay

Laura Larkin

Published 22/11/2016 | 02:30

Michael Murphy has battled cancer himself Picture: Colin O'Riordan
Michael Murphy has battled cancer himself Picture: Colin O'Riordan

The country's leading broadcasters have rushed to send their best wishes to RTÉ legend Gay Byrne following his shock cancer revelation.

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The former 'Late Late Show' host revealed on Sunday that his doctors fear he may have prostate cancer that has spread to his back.

Ryan Tubridy, who is now at the helm of the show that propelled Byrne to national fame, said his predecessor was a "survivor".

"I certainly want to wish him and the family well in the next couple of weeks, that he gets looked after.

Gay is a trooper, a fighter, a survivor," Tubridy said.

"He's had a pretty tough year, let's face it, after last December and on he goes.

"He goes to the openings of plays and movies and book launches...and, honestly, he just keeps on going. He is remarkable, and I just wanted to send him enormous love and goodwill and good wishes.

"And I think I'm probably reflecting the thoughts of all in RTÉ - and beyond, the listeners who used to listen to him on this programme in previous incarnations, and watch him on 'The Late Late Show' and everything else."

Meanwhile, businessman and Newstalk host Bobby Kerr, who also broke the news of his cancer battle on-air in 2015, has praised Byrne for the way in which he tackled the subject head-on with his listeners.

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Mr Kerr said Gay had "demystified" his health concerns by speaking openly.

"I think it's great that he came out with such clarity," he told the Irish Independent.

"He's a great ambassador and everyone wishes him well. Everyone wants him to get better," he said. "He is the classic communicator and he knows how to do it," he said.

"You could see that's the way that he wanted to do it, and that's the way he did it.

"Everybody in broadcasting looks up to him and I'm sure everyone wants him to get better as soon as possible."

Fellow cancer survivor Michael Murphy, a former newsreader with RTÉ, also said he hoped the broadcaster would pull through.

"I was very sorry to hear Gay's news, I hope he will be alright," he said. "He's the greatest broadcaster we have. It'll be a huge shock for people.

"November is the month for men's cancer awareness so it's ironic that this should occur for poor Gay at this time."

Mr Murphy is featured in the Marie Keating Foundation's Heroes of Hope exhibition.

Larry Gogan, who has worked alongside Gay for many years, has sent his best to his friend. "Gay and I are the two oldest broadcasters left in RTÉ ...hopefully, he will be all right," he said.

Irish Independent

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