British businessman Richard Branson has paid tribute to "incredible entertainer" Gay Byrne, who passed away on Monday.
Branson, who was interviewed by Byrne on both the Late Late Show and The Meaning of Life, said the broadcaster helped to shape modern Ireland.
"Everybody in Ireland watched Gay on The Late Late Show on a Friday night," he said.
Very sad to hear Gay Byrne has passed away. He was a great entertainer and an integral part of Irish life, who pushed important societal issues forward https://t.co/nUBdi9DUD1 pic.twitter.com/pm8Jw9iWcY— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) November 6, 2019
"He was an incredible entertainer, but above and beyond that he pushed forward important social issues for wider debate, from abortion to divorce to sexuality. It's no exaggeration to say he played a major role in helping to shape modern Ireland."
Branson revealed he was so concerned about forgetting Byrne's name during his first appearance on the Late Late Show due to his dyslexia that he wrote the presenter's name on his hand - which Byrne noticed.
"He invited me on for an interview when I was quite young and, despite him being the most influential person in Ireland, I was not overly familiar with his show. Being dyslexic I am apt to forget names from time to time, especially if I have lots of interviews in short succession.
Years later, Bryne recalled the incident with Branson.
"He later interviewed me for his show The Meaning of Life and we had a fascinating discussion about religion; we had differing views but a fascinating debate. Off-air, he brought up the name-on-hand incident and we shared a joke about it.
"Despite my mishap, Gay is truly unforgettable. He was an integral part of Irish life and I wish all the best to his loved ones."