She was a picture perfect Rose, says Tubridy
RTE personality Ryan Tubridy yesterday paid tribute to Michaela Harte, whom he met while hosting the Rose Of Tralee beauty pageant in 2004.
The 'Late Late' presenter described the stunning brunette, that year's Ulster Rose, as one of the "warmest, kindest people" he had ever met.
Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, Tubridy said: "I got such a shock when I heard this news because I remember Michaela so well from that year.
"I interviewed all the girls but Michaela stood out because of her easy-going manner.
"For that reason the Rose of Tralee was the perfect competition for her and she was the perfect Rose."
Off-stage too, the 'Late Late' host had been impressed by the school teacher's warmth and love of life.
"You see the girls during preparations and Michaela had been just as easy to talk to off-camera as on.
"It was a brief meeting at the festival but Michaela stood out as one of those people you have to say is a credit to their parents," he added.
And the RTE presenter said Michaela's father, Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte, who had been a constant at Michaela's side throughout that festival, as she had been for him at GAA fixtures down through the years, was in his thoughts.
"They were inseparable at that Rose of Tralee, and certainly when I was interviewing and talking to her, Mickey was there too.
"They had an extraordinarily close relationship. I don't know how her dad is going to cope with such a loss. I can't imagine what her family are going through today. It's just too awful. I just think what has happened is desperate. A life has been ended too abruptly," the broadcaster added.
Kilkenny Rose Orla O'Shea, who went on to win the Rose of Tralee that year, described Michaela as "a true lady".