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Dublin: 10 °C Monday 12 November, 2018
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Tributes paid to broadcaster Derek Davis who has died aged 67

The former Live at 3 and Rose of Tralee presenter’s death – after a short illness – was announced this afternoon.

Image: RTE

THE DEATH OF Derek Davis, the veteran broadcaster, has been confirmed by RTÉ – his former employer, this afternoon.

His death – after a short illness – was announced on Today with Sean O’Rourke at midday. He was 67.

Raised in Bangor, Davis began his career in the US with ABC.

He also worked in the BBC Northern Ireland newsroom, before moving to RTÉ – where he became a newsreader, co-presenting alongside Anne Doyle.

The affable presenter became a household name in the 1980s, co-presenting the mid-afternoon magazine show Live At 3, alongside Thelma Mansfield.

He also hosted a summer show, simply called ‘Davis’, and was a popular team captain with colleagues Ronan Collins and Twink on the charades game show Play the Game.

derek1 Alongside Gay Byrne at a Rose of Tralee event in 1996. Source: Photocall Ireland

Over a long career, he twice presented the Rose of Tralee, hosted marine programme Out of the Blue, and worked on a range of other popular TV and radio projects.

File photo Derek Davis has died today. Hosting the Rose of Tralee in 1995 Source: Photocall Ireland

More recently, he hosted a weekend radio show on commercial station 4FM.

His latest radio appearance was just four days ago – when he appeared as a guest on Marian Finucane’s Sunday morning Radio 1 show.

Former colleagues of Davis have been paying tribute on Twitter this afternoon:

derek2 Alongside Gerry Ryan and Pat Kenny in 1990. Source: Eamonn Farrell

In a statement this afternoon, RTÉ’s Director General Noel Curran described Davis as being “full of humour and warmth”, as well as “one of the most versatile presenters RTÉ has seen”.

“But at heart he was always a journalist, and he brought that inquisitive sense of journalism to everything he did,” Curran continued.

From Live at Three to the Rose of Tralee, from Liveline to regional reports on the 2007 General Election for Drivetime, Derek Davis’s popular approach was always rooted in that strong journalism, which had marked his earlier years as a reporter and newsreader.

“He will be fondly remembered as part of the first two-hander news presentations with Anne Doyle, as well as his long-lasting pairing with Thelma Mansfield, just two of the many highlights in a long and distinguished career. I would like to extend my sincere sympathies to Derek’s wife, his three sons, his extended family, and former colleagues.”

Play the Game Christmas show (1992) With Twink and Ronan Collins at the Play The Game Christmas Show (1992) Source: RTE

Marine Minister Simon Coveney also paid tribute today, expressing his sadness at his passing.

“Derek was a big personality, a passionate and talented communicator on both food and marine issues,” he said in a statement.

“His love for the sea was so evident whenever I met him. Derek was a much loved figure in so many Irish homes for the connections he created over a lifetime of broadcasting.

He will be missed by so many. I’d like to offer my condolences to his family and many friends.

Derek Davis in Out of the Blue publicity shot (1998) Presenting Out of the Blue (1998)

The presenter spoke openly of his health problems and battle to keep his weight under control in recent years.

He lost five stone last year, after undergoing gastric surgery. Speaking to the Irish Examiner, he said he had taken the decision “to improve both the quality and the potential length of my life”.

In the same interview, he described his career as “a series of fortuitous accidents” – and said that the one major lesson he had learned in life was “when things go wrong, don’t lie down and roll over”.

(Originally posted 12.10pm)

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