Tuesday 13 November 2018

RTE broadcaster Derek Davis dies after short illness

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The death has been announced of former RTE broadcaster Derek Davis, following a short illness.

Mr Davis (67) was rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital last night.

It’s understood that the former Live at Three host suffered a stroke and died this morning.

Last Sunday, Mr Davis, a well known RTE broadcaster, appeared on the Marian Finucane show where he spoke about his battle to lose weight and health issues.

His death was announced at noon today leaving many fans and former colleagues stunned.

Shortly after midday, RTE played Johnny Cash’s song, Folsom Prison Blues, in tribute as to Davis who regularly sang the song at social

TV personality Derek Davis at home in Killiney. For Sunday Independent favourite share. Photo: Tony Gavin 24/1/02
Details of the Clarenbridge Oyster Festival were announced today 30th August at Guinness Storehouse. The festival marks the official start of the oyster season and takes place in the village of Clarenbridge from September 7th -9th 2001. Pic: Fennells
Derek Davis in RTE series 'Out of the Blue'
Derek Davis Pic: Mark Condren (2008)
Derek Davi s on RTE
Derek Davis Pic: Mark Condren (2008)
Derek Davis Pic: Mark Condren (2010)
Derek Davis Pic: Mark Condren (2010)
Derek Davis Pic: Mark Condren (May 2010)
Derek Davis
Derek Davis celebrates after his team Glasdrumman fromCo Down beat Katherine Lynch 's team Dromahair from Co Letrim in the Celebrity Bainisteoir Final in Parnell Park.KOBPIX NO FEE PIX
Celebrity Bainisteoirs Derek Davis and Ray D'Arcy lead their teams into battle for the first Celebrity Bainisteoir quarter final. Ray D'Arcy's Rathangan GAA, Kildare are at home to Derek Davis' Glasdrumman, Down in the first round of the competition.
The Celebrity Bainisteoir 2009 line-up: (l-r) John Waters, Andrea Roche, John McGuire, Ray D'Arcy, Derek Davis, Emma O'Driscoll, Katherine Lynch and George Hook. C
The Celebrity Bainisteoir 2009 line-up: (l-r) John Waters, Andrea Roche, John McGuire, Ray D'Arcy, Derek Davis, Emma O'Driscoll, Katherine Lynch and George Hook.
The 2009 line-up of Celebrity Bainisteoirs l-r (back) John McGuire, John Waters, George Hook, Katherine Lynch, Derek Davis, Emma O'Driscoll. Front l-r Andrea Roche, Ray D'Arcy.
Derek Dav Picture; GERRY MOONEY. 5/3/09
Derek Davis
Derek Davis
Derek Davis in 2012


The married father-of-three was hugely popular among radio and TV audiences, and presented popular daytime programme Live At Three in the 90s alongside Thelma Mansfield.

Mr Davis had worked for American network ABC and BBC Northern Ireland before moving to RTE.

He presented the Rose of Tralee on two occasions. In 1984, he introduced US President Ronald Reagan to a massive reception in Ballyporeen, Co Tipperary.

He suffered health problems in recent years but was always open and forthright on the subject.

Last year he underwent gastric surgery, after which he lost more than 100 pounds.

"I became a granddad. He was born at two pounds and when he survived, I thought 'Someone needs to teach this boy the important things in life, like picking a decent bottle of wine and casting a fly'. It was really his coming into this world that made me want to cling on a bit longer. I reckon I had about two years to go."

He underwent bariatric surgery with Dr Carel le Roux last July and had lost seven stone since. "I don't feel hungry, ever. I can't physically overeat because I am eating a child-size portion, but my taste buds are grand," he said.

Derek Davis
Derek Davis

Read more: 'When the RTE exec said I was fat, I wanted to break his jaw'

RTE producer Larry Masterson, who produces The Saturday Night Show, said Derek’s passing was desperately sad news.

“I worked with Derek on a number of programmes over the years.

“We had planned on having him back on the show this weekend to talk about his weight loss.

We got a fantastic response the last time he was on the show,” Mr Masterson said.

“He was a television colossus; people loved watching him. People really genuinely had a great gra for him.

“He suffered a stroke and was taken to Vincents’ and sadly passed away this morning,” he said.

“He was a great raconteur a great storyteller, he had it all, he was terrific.

“He was conscious all his life that he was carrying weight, from the first time I met him 30 years ago.

“He had a weight issue, it in many ways defined his personality. He was always the funny man – get in first with a joke before someone said something cruel.

“He was deeply sensitive that he did have that weight issue.

It defined him to a large extent sadly,” Mr Masterson said.

Derek’s former RTE colleague Pat Kenny today said: “I saw a photo of him recently he looked fantastic after his weight loss. We shall sadly not see his like again.”

Former RTE sports broadcaster Bill O’Herlihy also paid tribute to Derek.

“I didn’t know him very well, but I thought he was an extremely good presenter and an excellent serious newsreader," he said.

“I know that he was a most enthusiastic person. I just saw a picture of him on the paper at the weekend and he looked very thin I thought.”

Friend and colleague ​Colm Connolly said "he took his work seriously but didn't take himself seriously".

"He was a very intelligent fellow, brilliant at cryptic crosswords and a fantastic doodler. He was brilliant - whichever side if the fence he was on, the comment side or the serious journalism."

Known as a joker in the office, Connolly said that Davis "was never malicious, he was a kindly guy."

"If anything he was the epitome of kindness. When my own son was born prematurely and I was in Cork, he went to visit and support my wife in hospital."

But Connolly revealed that Davis didn't deny that he was the father of the child when maternity staff made that assumption.

"He lived on that story for days."

'A showman, but one of substance and experience' - Friends, fans and colleagues pay tribute to RTE broadcaster Derek Davis 

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