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'My love is dead' -- Melanie, still haunted by the image of finding her partner's body

Gerry Ryan's partner spoke yesterday for the first time since his death, saying: "My love is dead."

Heartbroken Unicef boss Melanie Verwoerd (43) has broken her silence since the tragic passing and friends close to her have said that she is "absolutely in bits" as she struggles to cope with the loss.

Ryan's partner of 18 months, who discovered his body on Friday morning, has been haunted by images of seeing her partner dead.

And the normally glamorous charity boss has shunned her stylish image in favour of a more demure style as she continues to mourn the RTE broadcaster.

Yesterday, outside her plush Leeson Street apartment, Melanie spoke just a few words as she choked back tears.

"My love is dead. I have nothing else to add," she said.

However, in addition to grieving the iconic broadcaster, she is said to be particularly shaken since discovering his body herself.

Melanie became concerned after she didn't hear from the radio host the previous night, and was particularly alarmed when production staff for The Gerry Ryan Show could not contact him.

After calling to his apartment early on Friday morning, she left without getting a response but returned at noon that day.

A builder working nearby forced the door open to help her gain entry to the DJ's apartment and Ryan's body was found beside his bed.

"The image is just imprinted on her brain," a close friend said. "She is absolutely in bits. She has lost the man she loves, but what's worse is she was the one who found him and that's really difficult for her.

"As anyone can imagine, finding someone you love dead is horrendous, that will take her a long time to get over," the pal added.

And another friend, who was waiting for the former South African ambassador outside her home, said: "She had to get out of the house to clear her head. She is naturally very upset."

Melanie first stepped out with Gerry several months after his split from his wife Morah in 2008, and the pair had enjoyed a high profile romance since, attending various events and premieres together.

Gerry and Morah, separated at the time of his death, had five children together prior to their split -- Lottie (24), Rex (20), Bonnie (17), Elliot (14), Babette (10) -- who discreetly visited their father's girlfriend this weekend to offer their condolences.

The family met Melanie at her South Dublin home where they were united in grief.