THE partner of broadcaster Gerry Ryan last night spoke of the massive void his death has left in her life.
In a statement, Melanie Verwoerd revealed that just two days before his death she promised the star that the "horrible time" he was going through would pass.
"Just over a year ago I pointed out a cherry blossom tree in full bloom to Gerry," she said.
"I reminded him that even in the darkest times there is beauty around us and I assured him that the horrible time he was going through will also pass.
"Then we made a promise: next spring when the cherry tree flowers again, we will have champagne under the tree, laugh about the difficult times of 2010 and celebrate a new future.
"He died two days later."
"The cherry blossoms will forever remind me of Gerry.
"It is impossible to describe the void his death has left in my life. I will always love him. I will always miss him," she added.
Ms Verwoerd, head of Unicef Ireland, was Mr Ryan's partner following his split in 2008 from his wife of 26 years, Morah. In the statement, she paid tribune to Mr Ryan who she called "funny, clever, generous, kind and gentle."
And she said that Mr Ryan was a great father figure "not only to his five children but also to my two children".
She said the couple shared "so much" happiness, contentedness and fun.
"The 30th of April will always be filled with horrific memories and sadness for me -- as it will be for all those who loved Gerry."