Tuesday 12 November 2019

Money worries kept Gerry Ryan awake at night, Melanie reveals

The late Gerry Ryan with his partner and author of the memoir
on their relationship 'When We Dance', Melanie Verwoerd
The late Gerry Ryan with his partner and author of the memoir on their relationship 'When We Dance', Melanie Verwoerd
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

THE partner of the late RTE star Gerry Ryan revealed he was distraught and panicked over his finances in the months before his death.

Melanie Verwoerd, the former South African ambassador and girlfriend of the RTE presenter, has revealed that Ryan turned to many acquaintances to try to borrow money.

In extracts from her memoir 'When We Dance', which is to be published tomorrow, Ms Verwoerd paints a worrying picture of the radio star in the final months of their two-year relationship.

Among other issues, the autobiography covers the financial and health difficulties endured by the RTE star leading up to April 30, 2010, when Ms Verwoerd found him dead in his Dublin flat, aged 53.

Ms Verwoerd said that he was reluctant to discuss any possible solution to his financial plight and gave his net income each month as €30,000.

The former ambassador conceded that Ryan did use cocaine early in his career but he promised to stay off drugs throughout their relationship.

Asked at his inquest in December 2010 if Ryan ever used cocaine, Ms Verwoerd had answered "absolutely not".

However, the Coroner's Court heard that the pathologist found traces of cocaine in Ryan's body after he was found dead.


Ms Verwoerd said she had been meeting more of "his domestic obligations" and he had borrowed a substantial amount of money from her to meet his outgoings, while businessman Harry Crosbie

had paid his rent for him.

She said it had become obvious that the financial concerns, with demands from Revenue and the "pressure at RTE" were "starting to take a toll".

In the book she tells how she discovered him after a sleepless night on the floor of a bathroom "crouched on his knees, bent over, with his forehead on the floor tiles. He was sobbing".

"I just can't do this any more," he told her. "I cannot deal with all this pressure. I am trying so hard. I won't survive this." She begged him to stay home but he went to work "still pale and shaky".

Towards the end of April 2010, Ryan returned to the flat out of breath and dizzy after a five-minute walk.

"Gerry did not want to ask Harry Crosbie, since he was embarrassed that he had not been able to repay the rent for the previous year that Harry had lent him. So he asked many acquaintances from the past, as well as a few people who he had given money to before, for help.

"One came through with a smallish amount but the rest all said no," she said.

"He was distraught and panicked. He did not know what to do. I became increasingly worried about his health and his stress levels," she said.

"Gerry took care of others," she said. "He was the most generous person I have ever met -- with his time, energy and money.

"There are endless people around Ireland to whom he had given money over the years -- sometimes very large amounts -- never expecting any repayment."

Irish Independent

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