Death of Gerry Ryan signals end of an era in Irish radio

One of Ireland's most popular television and radio personalities, Gerry Ryan, was found dead in his Dublin apartment on Friday morning.

Ryan, 53, had been hosting the "Gerry Ryan Show" on radio station 2fm for over 20 years.

The alarm was raised when Ryan, a father of five children who separated from his wife Morah in 2008, didn't show up for his show on Friday morning.

He had apparently told his producer last night that he was feeling unwell.

He is survived by his five children and his wife, Morah, from whom he was separated.

There was a media blackout for several hours after his body was found until his children could be notified.

Police said they are investigating his death, but no foul play is suspected at this time.

Ryan has also hosted several television programs including, "Gerry Ryan Tonight," "Ryan Confidential," "Operation Transformation" and "Gerry Ryan's Hitlist."

Ryan also replaced Pat Kenny as presenter for one taping of "The Late Late Shows" in 2008.

In 1994, Ryan co-hosted the Eurovision Song Contest from Dublin.

In 2008 he published in autobiography - "Would the Real Gerry Ryan Please Stand Up."

Ryan's colleagues in RTE have already reacted.

"Primetime" presenter Miriam O'Callaghan tweeted, “Tragically it is true. So terribly shocking and sad. Life is just too cruel sometimes. RIP.”

The Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, paid the following tribute to the broadcaster:

'Gerry was a household name and a broadcaster of immense talent and popularity. His legion of fans will all be greatly shocked to hear this sad news.

'He will be hugely missed by all those who had the good fortune to know him."

Ryan was considered to be a motor mouth who shocked the nation with his comments.

People all over Ireland loved his brash talk and his controversial opinions.

"The Gerry Ryan Show" has been the subject of several upheld complaints to the broadcasting complaints commission, and Ryan once escaped punishment when he wondered if God was a bollocks aloud live on air.

Ryan separated from Morah in 2008, and the pair made a pact never to discuss their marital breakdown in public.

He described his much-publicized separation as "the most painful decision that either of them ever had to make,” criticizing those who abandoned him and praising Man Booker Prize winner John Banville, who supported him.