Shock rang out this morning after it emerged that much-loved RTE star Bill O’Herlihy has died.
The Irish broadcasting legend suddenly passed away at his home today at the age of 76. Just last night, he was spotted signing autographs at Dublin’s Mansion House before the IFTAs.
Bill, who became a household name for his trademark catchphrases “okey dokey” and “we’ll leave it there so”, was a hugely popular broadcaster on RTÉ’s soccer coverage, which he was best known for in his long-standing journalism career.
Last year he celebrated his retirement from the national broadcaster at the end of the World Cup, after 40 years in the business.
The veteran presenter anchored 10 World Cups on RTE, starting with the 1978 competition in Argentina, as well as 10 Olympic Games.
Bill previously suffered a number of health scares, including a heart attack at the age of 45 in 1984, as well as a bout with colon cancer over five years ago.
In December 2014, he spoke about overcoming his illnesses, saying,”I’ve never had a problem since, I’ve been very lucky.”
RTE released a statement today, expressing their sadness at the news.
“Everyone in RTÉ is devastated at today’s news. Bill O’Herlihy was a giant of the sporting and broadcasting worlds in this country. His contribution to broadcasting was utterly unique. For decades he was at the centre of some of Ireland’s greatest sporting moments.
“He never hid his emotions on those big occasions, from disappointment to utter joy, and for this he was greatly loved.”
“But he was also a fantastic broadcaster and interviewer, getting the very best out of his interview panels and provoking debate and insight, and for this he was also hugely admired. Our sincere sympathies go to Bill’s wife Hillary, daughters Jill and Sally, grandchildren, family, friends and colleagues.”
Rest in Peace, Bill.