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Saturday 18 January 2020

Showband legend vows to gig again despite illness

Promoter Oliver Barry (L) and Larry Cunningham (R).
Promoter Oliver Barry (L) and Larry Cunningham (R).

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

SHOWBAND legend Larry Cunningham has vowed to go back on the road again.

Last night the 74-year-old confirmed to the Irish Independent how he has been undergoing treatment in St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin for a "serious illness".

The Granard-born entertainer was diagnosed with the condition just over a month ago, but has been "responding well" to treatment.

A spokesman for the singer said he had two weeks of treatment left, but wanted to confirm that despite suffering "serious illness", the "prognosis was good".

"Larry plans to be back gigging again soon. He is extremely positive about this," his spokesman told the Irish Independent.

Mr Cunningham last performed as recently as a month ago at a charity concert in St Loman's in Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

The father of four was said to be at home in Longford at the weekend where he was receiving calls and best wishes from fans all over Ireland, America and Australia.

Ireland's first superstar in Britain, it was in December 1964 when Mr Cunningham entered the UK charts with single 'A Tribute to Jim Reeves', a spoken monologue which became an unlikely hit, selling over 250,000 copies.

But it was ballad 'Lovely Leitrim' for which he is best known, after it spent four weeks at No 1 in the Irish charts.

With his former backing band The Mighty Avons, Mr Cunningham holds the all-time record for the largest crowd at the Galtymore Ballroom in London -- 6,850.

The same group also became the first Irish showband to play at New York's famous Carnegie Hall.

In 2009, he recounted his life story to journalist Tom Gilmore for book 'Larry Cunningham: A Showband Legend'.

Irish Independent

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