Van Morrison devastated by the death of Gigi Lee
TWO YEARS AFTER THE BIRTH OF GEORGE IVAN III, TRAGEDY STRIKES FOR VAN
Tragedy has struck reclusive star Van Morrison with the death of the mother of his lovechild -- Gigi Lee.
American-born Gigi was the mother of his two-year-old son -- George Ivan III -- who was dramatically introduced to the world via a storm of controversy and confusion at Christmas time two years ago.
Now in an appalling twist of fate it has been revealed that his lover, Gigi Lee, died in Belfast aged just 44 after a battle with cancer.
The staunchly reclusive singer had managed to keep the news secret for two months and is said to be heartbroken.
It is understood the brave Texan refused to have radiation treatment while pregnant to protect her unborn baby.
Gigi's death on October 7 remained such a closely guarded secret that this weekend her close friends in the US were shocked to learn the news.
The death, as revealed in the Sunday World, was confirmed by a source contacted by the Sunday Independent last night. It has left the star, who had set up a new life with the mother of his child in a secluded setting outside Belfast, completely devastated.
When contacted in the United States, her childhood friend Carla Higdon said this weekend: "I had no idea, nobody here knows she is dead." She continued: "Gigi was my friend, my lifelong friend. I looked after her when she was sick. She was pregnant with little George at the time so they couldn't use radiation treatment.
"But for so long she refused to believe she had cancer."
Carla told how she "set up home" for Gigi: "I looked after the house for her, I did everything for her, so when we fell out it was very sad."
She wouldn't go into detail about what caused the rift, save to say that Gigi ordered her out of her home.
"I have always been there for her, we had always been so close but when someone accuses you of doing stuff you didn't, it's difficult."
Gigi came to live in Ireland following the news that she had given birth to the couple's first child two years ago.
Since that time Van, Gigi and their child had been very rarely spotted in public.
Since moving to the North, Van Morrison and Gigi Lee had taken determined measures to prevent their liaison from becoming public knowledge. The rock star was living with Gigi and their child near Newtownards, Co Down.
The pair were photographed in public together a number of times -- but locals said they were rarely seen out.
Gigi, whose original address was given in company documents as Richland Hills, Texas, US, was a director of Van's music companies in the UK.
She was a tour manager for the reclusive singer when he toured his re-released album Astral Weeks in the US in 2009. She was appointed a director of his companies such as Exile Music and Listen to the Lion Films, but she resigned in 2010.
However, the arrival of George Ivan III caused a flurry of international media attention.
Van's friend, Dublin public relations executive John Saunders denied the story was true, and speaking to RTE radio said that Morrison didn't know anyone called Gigi Lee.
However, it then emerged that the couple had moved to a house near the Culloden Hotel outside Belfast, near where Van is from. It was said that he had bought land around a nearby house so that it could not be seen from the road.
Van, who is regarded as one of the most influential rock stars in the world, had previously been married in his early days to Janet Planet and afterwards, when he returned to live in Dublin, he formed a relationship with the former beauty queen and television personality Michelle Rocca.
They met when she rented a mews house at the bottom of his garden in Elgin Road in Dublin 4 and the couple went on to have two children together.
They bought a house in Killiney where she now lives.