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Monday 18 December 2017

Sports radio star Johnny Lyons is found dead at his home

98FM's sports editor Johnny Lyons died at his Dublin home
98FM's sports editor Johnny Lyons died at his Dublin home

Alan O'Keeffe

Popular radio sports broadcaster Johnny Lyons was found dead in his home yesterday evening.

The body of the 98FM sports editor and presenter was found at his apartment in Dublin city centre after friends became concerned when they were unable to contact him.

The highly respected sports journalist had been away from work recently because of a broken ankle, but was expected to return to the airwaves next week.

Aged in his 40s, he worked for the Dublin radio station for two decades.

He presented Now That's What I Call Sport on the station each Sunday morning from 9am to 10am.

The news of his sudden death shocked his friends and colleagues in the media and sporting worlds.

A statement was issued on behalf of the directors, management and staff of the station last night, in which they said they were "heartbroken at the death of our dear colleague and great friend".

"Johnny died suddenly and peacefully at his home in Dublin," it said.

"He has been the backbone of our sports team for over 20 years.

"His distinctive voice and his passion for soccer defined Johnny for so many of his listeners.

"He was a talented presenter with a deep knowledge and love of sport, and his Sunday morning programme, Now That's What I Call Sport, was a weekly date for so many Dubliners."

The chief executive of 98fm, Keith McCormack, issued a personal tribute.

"The entire station is devastated with the sudden passing of a beloved colleague," he said.

"Johnny, with his larger-than-life personality, was loved by all, listeners and colleagues alike.

"He was a huge part of the 98FM family and will be dearly missed.

"We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family at this time. May he rest in peace.

The station is planning to pay tribute to Lyons on air over the next few days.

The Football Association of Ireland also said it was "saddened" by the news of his death.

Chief executive John Delaney said: "Johnny Lyons was a great football man who really understood the game.

"I enjoyed being interviewed by him because he was so passionate, and I want to extend our sympathy to his family and friends.

"We will be doing a tribute to him at next month's match against Georgia."

The cause of Lyons' death was not reported last night, but foul place is not suspected.

He was a familiar contributor to Today FM's Premier League Live show.

He began his 98FM career in 1996. He was taken on initially after station chiefs were deeply impressed with a demo tape he delivered to the station.

He said one of his most satisfying career moments was when he interviewed former Celtic striker John Hartson after the Welsh footballer's battle with cancer.

Many media colleagues last night spoke of their shock and sadness at Lyons' death.

Newstalk presenter Jonathan Healy tweeted: "What awful news this evening about Johnny Lyons. Such a big character in Irish radio. RIP".

Hugh Cahill of 2FM said Lyons gave him his start in radio and was "a wonderful guy to have known".


Irish Independent

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