'A nation that adored him': Celebrities and viewers alike mourn the loss of Gay Byrne

'A nation that adored him': Celebrities and viewers alike mourn the loss of Gay Byrne

Celebrities, politicians, journalists and viewers have been paying tribute today to a titan of Irish broadcasting, Gay Byrne.

As the news broke this afternoon that the legendary RTÉ broadcaster had passed away at the age of 85, social media was quickly filled with tributes and fond memories.

President Michael D Higgins led the tributes describing Gay Byrne as a man of great charisma, who was possessed of effortless wit, charm, and who had a flair for broadcasting.

Colleagues, journalists and entertainers from home and abroad shared their thoughts on a media legend.

Among them was Stephen Fry, whose response when Gay Byrne asked him what he would say if he were to come face-to-face with god went viral.

Speaking to Drivetime on RTÉ this evening, Mr Fry said that it was an honour and a pleasure to have been interviewed by him both on the Late Late Show and on The Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne.

"Such was his standing in Ireland that I would be stopped on the street the next day with greetings like 'Ah, I see you were on the show with Himself last night' … or 'When will you be coming back to talk to Himself again?'

To have earned the soubriquet Himself says something, I reckon.

"My most notorious experience with Himself came when he dropped me a question which led to quite a hoo-ha.

"I fear I shocked him somewhat with my reply, but he couldn’t not have been more delightful, charming and – I think – tolerantly amused by my wickedness.

"So here’s to Himself. Who knows? Maybe he will wake up in a certain place and be able to pass on my regards."

Many others shared their tributes, memories and condolences on Twitter where numerous hashtags attributed to the icon's passing trended all night.

Tributes were paid to Gay Byrne for his tireless work campaigning for safer roads.

It seemed almost everyone wanted to share some of their special memories and say what Gay Byrne meant to them.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

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