Jimmy Magee R.I.P. “Different class.”

Former RTÉ sports commentator and journalist Jimmy Magee has passed away aged 82.

The veteran broadcaster had been ill for some time.

He was born in New York city and raised in Co Louth.

Known as the memory man, he joined RTÉ in 1956 and in his time as a broadcaster, commentated on 10 Olympic Games and 11 World Cups.

Magee began his career in broadcasting as a reporter for the RTÉ Radio programme “Junior Sports Magazine”. Presented by Harry Thuillier, “Junior Sports Magazine” was broadcast on a Saturday and mainly covered rugby, hockey and athletics.

Magee 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.

He commentated on a wide range of sports for RTÉ, including every Olympic Games from 1972 until 2012, and he covered his first World Cup for radio in 1966 which was won by the host nation England.

Magee also commented on Katie Taylor’s historic gold medal victory at the London 2012 Olympic games for RTÉ.

At the same London Olympics in London, the International Olympic Committee acknowledged Magee’s outstanding contribution to sport and presented him with a replica of the Olympic torch.

He also co-hosted the quiz show ‘Know Your Sport’ on RTÉ Television alongside George Hamilton from 1987 to 1998.

In 2006 Magee was presented with a PPI Outstanding Achievement Award to mark his 50th year in broadcasting.

Tributes were paid to the sporting legend upon the news of his passing. RTÉ Head of Sport Ryle Nugent said: “It’s an incredibly sad morning. It’s hard to put it into words, the man meant an inordinate amount to so many people.

“I think he was the soundtrack to many generations that included Michael O’Hehir, Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, Fred Cogley and himself, they were the original commentators and the ones we looked to when there was a major sporting event.

“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.”

Magee’s colleague Des Cahill added: “You mention the World Cup and the Olympics, everybody knows Jimmy’s personality and warmth but to travel with him, he was unbelievable craic.

“He was kind to the youngsters coming along, he was known by the families of the sports men and women because he was a family man and a fun man.

“The big thing I remember him for was fun and it was a cheeky kind of humour. He’d set you up big time if he could and they’re lovely, warm memories for me to have of Jimmy.”

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