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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C Byrne and Tubridy in 2012.

Novelist Lee Child and Ryan Tubridy offer support as Gay Byrne prepares to fight cancer

RTÉ staff have rallied around the veteran broadcaster, who made the announcement on his Lyric FM show.

RTÉ HAVE RALLIED around veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne as he prepares to fight cancer.

The presenter made the announcement at the end of his Lyric FM show yesterday afternoon.

“We’re going to hospital as they think they may have discovered a bit of cancer in the prostate and they’re afraid that it may have moved up into the small of the back,” Byrne told his listeners.

The 82-year-old received a boost this morning as RTÉ staff – and the hugely successful author Lee Child – wished him a speedy recovery.

Ryan Tubridy, his successor both at the helm of the Late Late Show and on RTÉ Radio 1, told listeners of his radio show that Byrne was a “trooper, a fighter and a survivor”.

“And we, well I certainly want to wish him and the family well in the next couple of weeks, that he gets looked after.

“He’s had a pretty tough year, let’s face it, after last December and on he goes,” Tubridy added, in a reference to Byrne’s heart attack in 2015.

He goes to the openings of plays and movies and book launches … and I met him at Wednesday at the Irish Book Awards, and honestly he just keeps on going.

“He is remarkable, and I just wanted to send him enormous love and goodwill and good wishes today.

“And I think I’m probably reflecting the thoughts of all in RTÉ – and beyond, the listeners who used to listen to him on this programme in previous incarnations, and watch him on the Late Late Show and everything else.

But he seems to be, listening to him yesterday, in fine fettle, he’s going to fight away and hopefully he’ll be looked after and fine, and we look forward to hearing him on Sunday week, back where he belongs, talking to us on Lyric FM.

Lee Child, author of the ubiquitous Jack Reacher novel series, also paid tribute to Byrne.

“Let me pass on my best wishes to Gay as well,” Child said on the Ryan Tubridy Show.

I met him years ago, I was on his show and I hope he’s going to be ok.

In a statement, the national broadcaster also wished Byrne well.

Tubridy added: “He’s going into hospital for tests regarding ‘a touch of prostate cancer’ to use his own words.

He talked about it in very casual terms if I may say because he didn’t want to make a fuss, but he couldn’t help himself making a fuss, because as you can see this morning in the papers and online that everyone cares so much about him that they wanted to see was he ok and talk about it and see where he is at.

“But he’s going to go into hospital, and get tests and see how he is doing. And hopefully he’ll be out the other side…. he was very understated in how he spoke about it.”


Byrne presented the flagship Late Late Show for just over 36 years until 1999, and also hosted the Rose of Tralee for 17 years, until 1994. Between 2006 and 2014, he served as the chairman of the Road Safety Authority.

Country star Nathan Carter added his support, wishing the broadcasting legend a “speedy recovery”.

RTE Industry Correspondent Ingrid Miley, meanwhile, urged men to get themselves checked for cancer in the wake of Byrne’s announcement.

Read: Gay Byrne reveals his doctors believe he has cancer

Read: Gardaí investigate serious assault on 18-year-old woman in Maynooth

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