courage and honesty | 

Charlie Bird's RTE colleagues flood social media with tributes after Late Late interview

"My feeling is that I don't think I will see another Christmas," Charlie told viewers

Charlie Bird and Claire Mould pictured on RTÉ’s The Late Late Show with Ryan Tubridy. Picture Andres Poveda

Niall Donald

Charlie Bird's former RTE colleagues have praised the legendary reporter's courage and honesty after he spoke about his battle with Motor Neurone Disease.

In a moving interview last night, the RTE legend described how he doesn't believe he will "see another Christmas" after being diagnosed with the degenerative condition.

Charlie also told viewers that he has been "blown away" by the support he has received since going public about his diagnosis.

"I cry every day because of what happened to me. If I was a betting person, my feeling is that I don't think I will see another Christmas," he told host Ryan Tubridy.

The retired reporter said he has been flooded with messages from well-wishers.

"I have people praying for me, [I get] mass cards, candles, I am blown away by that support. It lifts me."

He added: "I am not the only one going through this".

Charlie Bird pictured on RTÉ’s The Late Late Show with Ryan Tubridy. Picture Andres Poveda

Charlie said there were "thousands of people waiting for a hospital bed, facing the same challenges as me. As a country and as a people, it is my final wish that we look after everyone who is ill."

He added: "I want to see my grandkids grow up - I know I am in a fight and I am doing my best."

Last night, Charlie's RTE colleagues flooded social media with tributes to the veteran reporter.

Reporter Ingrid Miley tweeted that he was an inspiration.

She wrote: "That was an incredible interview with my friend and colleague Charlie Bird. Devastated for him and his family as he goes through this nightmare.

"Even in such tough times thinking of how he can help others - incredible courage and the very mark of the man…"

While RTE sports anchor Des Cahill wrote: "I spent two hours on TV this evening honouring the GAA.

"All Stars....fantastic young men…but then I come home to see the ULTIMATE warrior. Sincere best wishes to my former Newsroom colleague, Charlie Bird, & Claire after unforgettable interview."

RTÉ sports presenter Des Cahill and his wife Caroline Curran with their dogs, Lauren and Harvey. Photo: Tony Gavin

RTE's Dancing With the Stars judge Julian Benson wrote he was moved to tears by Charlie's interview.

"In tears watching Charlie Bird ..what a gentleman-selfless,genuine, kind and sincere....never more true words said - we should all look after the ill and the sick. Sending all my love and positivity to him."

Last night, Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath also described Charlie as an inspiration on Twitter.

He wrote: "Every now and then you get stopped in your tracks by the incredible strength and determination of another human being. The country stands with you Charlie Bird and your wonderful wife Claire.

"You have inspired a nation."

Charlie, was joined by his wife Claire on the Late Late Show, described receiving the diagnosis from Professor Orla Hardiman.

"She was writing something on a piece of paper and told me, 'don't you read that'." He then got into the car to drive home to Wicklow and read the note.

"It said Charlie Bird has a terminal illness - we went home together crying. But what can you do, you can't change it, so now we are getting on with life and trying to deal with it."

He admitted he was fearful of the future. "One to three years is what I have been told. I won't have my voice in three or four months' time - what keeps me going in a way is the support I have got from all over the place.

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