Wednesday 7 December 2016

Gay Byrne: 'I'll never be the same after heart attack scare'

Martin Grant and Kirsty Blake Knox

Published 17/03/2016 | 07:45

Gay Byrne and his wife Kathleen Watkins (Arthur Carron)
Gay Byrne and his wife Kathleen Watkins (Arthur Carron)
Gay Byrne and Kathleen Watkins at the opening night of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. Picture: Brian McEvoy
Kathleen Watkins and Gay Byrne
Gay Byrne in The Late Late Show early days
Gay Byrne & Kathleen Watkins at the IFTA Awards 2015 at The Mansion House

Veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne said he will never be the same again after suffering a heart attack last December.

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Gaybo (81) told the Herald that while he is recovering well, he has taken steps to change his lifestyle.

He was speaking at the opening night of a new production of The Plough and the Stars by Sean O'Casey in the Abbey Theatre.

Since he was first admitted to hospital late last year, he has been inundated with messages of support from his fans.

Kathleen Watkins and Gay Byrne
Kathleen Watkins and Gay Byrne

He also thanked well-wishers for their support.

"I'm doing very well indeed and people are very kind and come up to me as usual and they ask me how well I'm doing," he told the Herald. "Everybody is extremely kind and lovely."

He admitted, however, that he will never be the same after his health scare.

"I'm well on the mend. It will never be back to then, but nonetheless they warn you to take it easy and take it gently," he said.

Gay Byrne in The Late Late Show early days
Gay Byrne in The Late Late Show early days

"I'm not walking as far as I used to and I'm not walking as fast as I used to, but otherwise I'm grand. I'm getting there."

Gaybo had been spending the Christmas period surrounded by his family and friends when he suffered the heart attack. He was rushed to St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin where he received treatment.

Read more: Picture: Gay Byrne and wife Kathleen step out in adorable matching outfits

He suffered a health scare in July 2011 at his home in Sandymount when he was rushed by ambulance to St Vincent's after he found himself unable to breathe.

Gay Byrne & Kathleen Watkins at the IFTA Awards 2015 at The Mansion House
Gay Byrne & Kathleen Watkins at the IFTA Awards 2015 at The Mansion House

Gaybo began his broadcasting career in the 1950s at the Granada Studios TV in Manchester, where he became the first person to introduce The Beatles on screen.

He began working with Raidio Teleifis Eireann in 1961. Gaybo became a household name during nearly 40-year tenure as host of The Late Late Show.

The programme began life as a "summer filler" that was meant to run for only six weeks but became RTE's flagship entertainment programme, which it remains.

Following his four decades at the helm of RTE's top entertainment show and a lengthy career in radio, he continues to broadcast with the religious series The Meaning of Life on RTE television.

In previous episodes, he has asked stars and familiar faces such as Stephen Fry, Richard Dawkins and Hozier to discuss their attitudes to life, religion, spirituality and the afterlife.

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