Westlife's Nicky Byrne in shock at sudden death of father

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The Independent Online

Tributes were last night paid to the father of Westlife star Nicky Byrne, who died suddenly yesterday.

Nicky Byrne Snr died yesterday in Dublin and it is believed he died of a heart attack in his workplace. It's understood he was in his early 60s.

The tragic news came after the Westlife singer paid tribute to Fifth Avenue's Beverly O'Sullivan (28) who was killed in a car crash in India on Monday.

On his Twitter page, Nicky (31) wrote that he was "in shock" about the "horrible news". However, hours later, he himself was grieving the loss of his father.

Westlife were due to begin a regional radio tour in the UK today but following the untimely death it has been cancelled. Fellow bandmate Kian Egan, who lost his own father to cancer in July, said he and the rest of the band were devastated to hear the shocking news.

"It's been such a shock. Everyone feels so sad. It was just so sudden and unexpected," he told the Irish Independent last night. He said he spoke briefly with Nicky Byrne yesterday to offer his condolences but he said the young singer was inconsolable.

"He was very broken up. I never expected to be talking to the boys about another death of our parents so soon after my own father died," he said.

The band's manager and 'X Factor' judge Louis Walsh said he was also shocked by the news.

"Westlife are all devastated. They can't believe a second father is dead," he said. He said Nicky was extremely close to his namesake who was also a singer on the Dublin pub circuit.

The famous star used to sing karaoke with his dad who had his own band called 'Nicky and the Studz'.

Meanwhile, family members and others close to Mr Byrne and his family last night appealed for privacy in order to grieve.

A statement issued on behalf of his family last night read: "The family would like to confirm the sad news of the very sudden loss of a husband, dad and grandad today.

"A wonderful man who will be sadly missed by everyone whose life he touched. The Byrne family would like to ask that you respect their privacy at this time."

A spokesman for former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern -- who is Nicky Jnr's father-in-law -- said: "It is a huge shock to the whole family. His thoughts and sympathies are with Yvonne, Nicko, Gillian, Adam and his beloved grandchildren, Jay and Rocco."

Westlife were due to hit the road today until Friday for a regional radio tour to visit local stations in Glasgow, Manchester, Yorkshire, Leeds and Birmingham but it has been cancelled.

A statement on the band's website last night read: "We apologise that due to unforeseen circumstances the Westlife radio tour has been cancelled. We're sorry for the disappointment this will cause and will bring you further updates soon."

Source: The Belfast Telegraph