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Tributes still pouring in as friends deal with their loss

MOURNERS today continued to pay tribute to Gerry Ryan.

A book of condolences was opened in Dublin's Mansion House today after a weekend when nearly 17,000 people had already signed up to two Facebook pages in his memory.

And over 4,000 mourners expressed their grief by signing a book at the RTE radio centre over the weekend.


Fans from all over the country flocked to Donnybrook to personally express their sorrow as Ryan's family welcomed friends into his Clontarf home.

Yesterday afternoon, Gerry's girlfriend of 18 months Melanie Verwoerd (42) was comforted by friends of the star who gathered together to remember him.

Among his RTE colleagues who dropped in were Joe Duffy and Marian Finucane, who arrived bringing flowers for his grieving partner.

Mark Little, Bryan Dobson, Evelyn O'Rourke and Fiona Looney also stopped by the UNICEF boss's house to grieve.

Joe, who has not been shy about how much he misses his colleague and friend, said he was still "coming to terms" with Gerry's tragic death.

"All the cliches that we use like 'larger than life', 'lighting up a room' ... every cliche fits Gerry because he was larger than life, he did light up every room. People did gravitate to him."

The Liveline host went on to praise Ryan for his unique broadcasting skill, saying that the star was at the height of his career.

"He was extraordinarily well read and a Renaissance man in every sense of the word. He was at the height of his skill.

"You don't have to look back over 22 years to find the best Gerry Ryan show. The best Gerry Ryan show was on last Thursday."

Radio host Evelyn O'Rourke added that the office will not be the same without him -- with his empty desk a haunting reminder of his tragic death.

"We have lost a friend; not a colleague, a friend. We will miss him at his desk. We feel for his family," she said.

"It's probably harder today because we woke up this morning and he still was gone. He was just such a big force of nature and now that's suddenly stopped.

"So his friends and colleagues just gathered here to talk about him and share stories. Everyone is just devastated, most of all his family," she added.

Today FM DJ Ian Dempsey said he is still stunned by Gerry's death, saying that he still expects to hear him on air.


"It's so shocking. I really believe Gerry's going to come on Tuesday morning and say I just want to see if you appreciated me.

"He was always up to tricks. He was bold and brave," he said.

Shameless star Pauline McLynn said: "He was a huge life force and to have him taken at 53 is just wrong."