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Different class: Jimmy Magee passes away

Thursday, 21st September, 2017 9:26am

Tributes have been pouring in for legendary sports commentator and broadcaster Jimmy Magee who has passed away.

The much-loved presenter, who had been ill for some time, died on Tuesday night at the age of 82.

Known as the Memory Man, Jimmy was a familiar voice and face on RTÉ. He joined the state broadcaster in 1956 and during the course of his career commentated on 10 Olympic Games and 11 World Cups.

Born in New York city and raised in Co Louth, Jimmy began his career in broadcasting as a reporter for the RTÉ Radio programme ‘Junior Sports Magazine’. ‘Junior Sports Magazine’ was broadcast on a Saturday and mainly covered rugby, hockey and athletics. Jimmy doubled his early years in broadcasting with a full-time clerical post in British Rail. On leaving that job, he presented a number of sponsored radio programmes before concentrating on sport. Tributes have been paid to the veteran broadcaster, with RTÉ Head of Sport Ryle Nugent saying his passing was “hard to put into words”. “Jimmy holds his own with some of the most iconic memories in broadcasting in sport in this country and rightly so. He was an incredibly positive human being, I never heard Jimmy start a conversation in the negative and he took that into his professional life.”

Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail extended his sympathies and those of the GAA to the family and friends of the sporting great.

The GAA President said: “Jimmy’s sad passing represents the end of a golden era in Irish broadcasting and few – if any – will ever come close to reaching the standards he did across so many sports.

“He will be synonymous with RTÉ’s Olympic coverage but he had a deep interest in many sports – not least our own codes. The ‘Jimmy Magee All-Stars’, which involved some of the top names in Gaelic games were keenly followed by so many with an interest in the GAA.

“He was with us recently in Croke Park on All-Ireland hurling final day and was a regular in our media centre where his presence always brought a smile to those who he encountered.”

Jimmy's colleagues Des Cahill and Marty Morrissey said they were “heartbroken and saddened” to learn of his passing, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin also paying tribute to the iconic sports commentator.

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