Former Boyzone star Ronan Keating has spoken about the tragic loss of his mother to cancer and explained how the family took strength from each other.
Keating was just reaching the height of his fame with Boyzone in 1998 when his mother Marie passed away aged just 51 from breast cancer.
The singer was just 20 at the time, but he and his siblings protected and comforted one another and vowed to ensure their mother’s memory would live on.
They set up a foundation in her name which aims to help detect and treat cancer for patients in Ireland at the earliest stage, making it more treatable and with a higher chance of survival.
The Marie Keating Foundation now helps families all across Ireland through each step of their battle with cancer.
Keating gave an open and honest interview about the death of his mother to the Irish Mirror.
The Dubliner said: “Mam loved her five children and we adored her, to her family was everything.
“The one thing that makes me the most sad is that Mam never got to meet my kids or her other amazing grandkids.
“She would have adored them and been so proud of each and every one of them.
“She did get to see a little of Boyzone’s early success and I am really grateful for that.
“I’d give anything to have her here and always try to make her proud.
“My family and I are so proud of everybody who has made the Marie Keating Foundation what it is today.
“She never could have predicted what her death would do and in a time of such intense grief, we also could never have predicted all the good that could come from such an awful time for us, we just adored her.
“We miss her every day, she was our world, but as a family we just wanted to do something to try to ensure other families wouldn’t have to go through what we went through losing her so young.
“The team and nurses work hard every day to achieve the charity’s mission of ‘making cancer less frightening by enlightening’ in our Mam’s name and as a family we are very proud of all they achieve and all the good they do.”
Like all other performers, Keating has been unable to get close to his fans at live events over the past 18 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As the restrictions continue to be eased, he is looking forward to getting back to performing live and feeling the energy of his fans.
The star said: “Its been a really tough year for everyone, without a doubt. I think for me the toughest thing has been not being able to perform and make music in the way I have for so long.
“It’s so sad how long it has taken to get live music and the industry back and it was definitely forgotten about for far too long.
“It felt amazing recently to get back on stage and I am looking forward to more of that in the coming weeks and months, please God.
“The pandemic definitely took its toll there [mental health] and I think everyone had up and down days.
“I think for me surrounding yourself if you can with good friends and family is so important and just being open about how you’re feeling.
“I certainly think the effects of the pandemic will be felt for many years to come.
“I fully support all calls to get live music, gigs and events back open.
“There are safe ways to do this, and the industry has worked hard to ensure this, so now is definitely the time for it.
“I have missed performing so much but it is not just us singers out in the front but all the crew, band, producers, everyone who makes this industry what it is that have been hurting and we need it to open up again.”
Keating is once again preparing for the Concert4Cancer gig. The event will include a live audience and is also set to be broadcast on television. The proceeds will go to the Marie Keating Foundation.
The gig will include a duet between the former Boyzone frontman and Gary Barlow, his counterpart from fellow boyband Take That.
Other musicians scheduled to perform at the event include Aslan, Riptide Movement, Anne-Marie, Johnny Logan, Soda Blonde, Mike Denver, Emma Langford and the Mount Sion Choir, Tebi Rex, Curtis Walsh and Saint Sister.
Keating explained: “It felt brilliant to give other artists a platform to get back out there again and do what they love.
“I have missed performing so much and as an industry we have certainly been forgotten about.
“It feels great to see things opening up again and I can’t wait to be back on stage again.
“Last year’s concert really was a lifeline for the Marie Keating Foundation and all those they support in a year like no other.
“This year although things are much more hopeful, charities like the Marie Keating Foundation are still fighting to continue their services as up to now all their fundraising events have still not been able to go ahead, while facing a massive surge in demand for services.
“The night is all about raising funds to support men, women and families affected by cancer in Ireland and I really hope the Irish public will get behind us, tune in on the night and donate what they can – every cent is really appreciated and will truly make a huge difference to so many people’s lives here in Ireland who are affected by this dreadful disease.”
If you would like to find out more about the Marie Keating Foundation or make a donation then visit www.mariekeating.ie.