Gerry Ryan’s partner tells of ‘void’ one year after his death

THE partner of the late broadcaster Gerry Ryan has spoken of the void in her life on the first anniversary of his death.

Melanie Verwoerd revealed she has been left with heartbreak and sadness as she continues to mourn his passing on April 30 last year.

The charity boss said she feels extremely blessed to love, and have been loved by the 53-year-old, who died from heart failure after taking cocaine.

In a statement, Ms Verwoerd said: “It was an extraordinary privilege to have shared the last years of his life with him.

“Even though it was a very difficult time for him, we shared so much happiness, contentedness and fun.

“The 30th of April will always be filled with horrific memories and sadness for me — as it will be for all those who loved Gerry.

“However, I also want to remember the happy times and above all the great man that Gerry was — funny, clever, generous, kind and gentle.

“His insistence on living life to the full meant that he gave himself completely to everything and all that he came in contact with — leaving no one untouched.”

Ryan was under massive personal and financial pressure when he collapsed and died at his home on Leeson Street Upper, Dublin 4.

The father-of-five was separated from his wife of 26 years, Morah.

His family will hold a private memorial service in their local church in Clontarf today.

A coroner ruled traces of cocaine in his system had been likely to have triggered cardiac arrhythmia, leading to heart failure.

At the time Ms Verwoerd, who had found his body, spoke of heartache at discovering his death was linked to cocaine after he promised to stay away from drugs during their two-year relationship.

Ms Verwoerd, the head of Unicef Ireland, revealed her heart goes out to all those who loved the broadcaster, in particular the children that shared his life.

“He was a great father figure not only to his five children but also to my two children. I know that they all miss him beyond description.”

Ms Verwoerd revealed that just over a year ago she pointed out a cherry tree in full bloom to Ryan.

“I reminded him that even in the darkest times there is beauty around us and I assured him that the horrible time he was going through will also pass,” she added.

“Then we made a promise: next spring when the cherry tree flowers again, we will have champagne under the tree, laugh about the difficult times of 2010 and celebrate a new future. He died two days later.

“Over the last few weeks the tree has been flowering again, but instead of champagne and laughter there is only heartbreak and silence, left by his passing.

“The cherry blossoms will forever remind me of Gerry. It is impossible to describe the void his death has left in my life.

“I will always love him. I will always miss him.”

In memory

HERE is the full personal statement written by Melanie Verwoerd in memory of her partner Gerry Ryan to mark the first anniversary of his death on April 30:

“I feel extremely blessed to love and have been loved by Gerry. It was an extraordinary privilege to have shared the last years of his life with him. Even though it was a very difficult time for him, we shared so much happiness, contentedness and fun.

“The 30th of April will always be filled with horrific memories and sadness for me — as it will be for all those who loved Gerry. However, I also want to remember the happy times and above all the great man that Gerry was — funny, clever, generous, kind and gentle. His insistence on living life to the full meant that he gave himself completely to everything and all that he came in contact with — leaving no one untouched.

“On this anniversary of his death, my heart goes out to all those who loved Gerry, but in particular to the children that shared his life. He was a great father figure not only to his five children but also to my two children. I know that they all miss him beyond description.

“Just over a year ago I pointed out a cherry blossom tree in full bloom to Gerry. I reminded him that even in the darkest times there is beauty around us and I assured him that the horrible time he was going through will also pass. Then we made a promise: next spring when the cherry tree flowers again, we will have champagne under the tree, laugh about the difficult times of 2010 and celebrate a new future. He died two days later.

“Over the last few weeks the tree has been flowering again, but instead of champagne and laughter there is only heartbreak and silence, left by his passing.

“The cherry blossoms will forever remind me of Gerry. It is impossible to describe the void his death has left in my life. I will always love him. I will always miss him.”

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