Irish screen star Colin Farrell yesterday paid tribute to Gerry Ryan, saying the broadcaster's death is a 'great loss to the Irish people.'

Farrell told the press: 'It's so sad that a man with so much to say, about so many things that affect us all, has been taken so prematurely. He was so bombastic in the sharing of his opinions that at times I think his generosity got overlooked.'

Farrell, who was interviewed on 'Ryan Confidential' in the past, added: 'He really, really cared for the people of our island. A voice that went out, compassionately, to hundreds of thousands of people every morning has been silenced way before its time. I think he inspired many of us to think for ourselves.

'He gave us our own voice by giving us his. With a heart as big as his appetite for life, Gerry's passing will be a great loss to the people of Ireland. I can't imagine what a loss it is to his family, for more than anything, that is what he was, a proud and loving family man. My condolences to all those who knew him and loved him also.'