Michael Flatley has paid tribute to “lovely, caring person” Lisa Murphy and said her death was “heartbreaking”.
It is understood Murphy (51), from Ballinteer, Dublin, had a serious medical condition in recent years and died yesterday.
Flatley, who shot to fame with his principal role in Riverdance, revealed he was aware of Murphy’s illness and had visited her in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin earlier this week. They were engaged for a time in the early 2000s.
“I visited Lisa in St Vincent’s Hospital yesterday. I spent time with her and also with her family. It’s heartbreaking,” Flatley said yesterday.
“She was a lovely, caring person. I got the call from her father, Des, early this morning with the news. It’s very, very sad. God rest her soul.”
Murphy had worked as a model before becoming a TV personality on various reality programmes.
She had starred in fly-on-the-wall TV series Dublin Wives.
Celebrity lawyer Gerald Kean, who had a 10-year relationship with Ms Murphy, was another who offered sympathy to the family and friends of his former fiancée.
“It’s devastating news,” he said. “She was a wonderful lady. She was a big part of my life and also in particular of my daughter’s.”
The couple parted in 2016.
In September 2012, Mr Kean threw a surprise 40th birthday party for his then fiancée Murphy at his mansion in Co Wicklow.
Hundreds of guests attended the lavish celebration, at which Sinéad O’Connor sang several of her hits, including Nothing Compares 2U.
In May 2011, Murphy was held up at knifepoint by armed thieves in Mr Kean’s home. They escaped with thousands of euro worth of jewellery.
When Kim Kardashian faced a similar scare during a robbery in Paris in 2016, Murphy spoke for the first time about the raid and told of how terrified she had been.
“It was bringing me back to when I went through it and it’s just horrendous,” she said at the time. “I suppose with the security we had in the house, you never think it’s going to happen to you – that’s what everybody thinks.
“It’s not even the jewellery – it’s the aftermath of it all. They don’t realise the impact it has on your life, your future.
“Kim will get worse before she gets better. She’ll think she’s OK, like I did, and then it will hit her – post-traumatic stress. I obviously know what she went through and it’s horrendous.”
Murphy said she was tied up and threatened by the raiders before they left with her jewellery.
“They asked, ‘Where’s the safe?’, and I said, ‘There is no safe’. They literally held me on the ground,” she said. “They used cable ties and my hands were held behind my back. They had a knife and they were going to stab me in the back if I didn’t tell them where the jewellery was.”