Ireland's best known television personality, Gay Byrne, who hosted "The Late Late Show" for almost 40 years, died aged 85 on Monday, and was hailed by the prime minister as the "most influential broadcaster in the history of the state.

Byrne hosted the first episode of national broadcaster RTE's flagship chat show in 1962, becoming Ireland's answer to U.S. TV host Johnny Carson, and was the face of some of the most significant moments in Irish life in a show that remains a Friday night institution.

He interviewed celebrities from Fred Astaire to fellow Dubliners U2, whose singer Bono and drummer Larry Mullen surprised Byrne on his last episode 20 years ago with a gift of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.