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"As a performer, I understand it takes a picture of me with the Pope or a president to get debt cancellation onto the front pages. Otherwise it's just too obscure a melody line."

-- Bono

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Bob Hewson R.I.P.

Bono's tears as beloved dad loses his cancer fight

The Mirror, August 22, 2001
By: By Pat Flanagan and Allison Bray

 

Bono was heartbroken last night after his father lost his long fight against cancer.

Bob Hewson, 75, died in the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin surrounded by his family

And Bono -- real name Paul Hewson -- sobbed as his father slipped away in the early hours yesterday.

But the grief-stricken U2 frontman refused to let his fans down and went ahead with last night's sell-out concert in London.

He dedicated the song "Kite" to his dad in front of thousands of fans at Earls Court. Bono said: "I want to thank my old man, my father, for giving me this voice.

"He was a fine tenor and he always said if I had his voice who knows what might have happened.

"He had been ill for one week and has gone now. He's free of all that now.

"This is a song I wrote for him. This is 'Kite.' "

A band insider said: "He's heartbroken but he couldn't let the fans down. He insisted on going on stage."

And a spokeswoman for Bono's management company said the concert on Saturday will not be cancelled.

She said: "Slane is definitely going ahead, Bono won't let the fans down."

Last night the family were coming to terms with their loss.

Holding back tears, Bono's brother Norman, 47, said: "My dad passed away during the night in the Beaumont Hospital.

"This is a very difficult time for the family even though he had been sick for some time. We have no arrangements for the funeral yet, that will be done later.

"We are all together, I just can't talk about it at this stage. Thank you for your sympathy."

Bono had being flying in every night after concerts to see his father who had been ill with cancer.

The two were extremely close and he wanted to be with Bob through his last day. But rather than let fans down he has decided to go ahead with all the U2 shows on the Elevation Tour.

Bono's spokeswoman Lindsay Holmes said in Dublin: "The concert at Slane is definitely going ahead and there is no question that it will be cancelled.

"And there is also no question that the other concerts will be called off."

A source close to the band said: "Bono knew it was coming but he is in bits over the loss of Bob, he was so close to him.

"He was flying into Dublin every night after the concerts, I don't know how he kept it up.

"Any other man would have collapsed from exhaustion. He was singing to keep the fans happy even though his heart was breaking because he knew his dad was dying."

The Irish Mirror revealed last month that the 40-year-old singer had broke off from the band's tour in Germany to be at his sick dad's bedside.

Mr. Hewson had been sick for several years but took a bad turn and was admitted to hospital.

At U2's weekend concert in London, Bono dedicated the song "Kite" to his father, a retired postal worker.

A spokeswoman for the band's London publicists Principle Management said: "Everything is up in the air but we can confirm that Bob Hewson died in hospital today."

The Slane concert, the first of two at the venue on successive Saturdays, will be U2's first major concert in Ireland since 1997.

Last night thousands of the band's Irish fans were relieved the Slane concerts are still on. The gigs will be their first stadium concerts on home soil since 1997.

In recent weeks, Mr. Hewson's condition is believed to have worsened requiring him to be rushed to Beaumont Hospital on Dublin's northside. But Bono and his older brother Norman remained hopeful their father would get better.

Norman told the Irish Mirror at the time: "Bono came home because to see dad who is not in great shape.

"Our father is not too well and he is in hospital, but I'm not prepared to say where.

"Please God he will be better soon, we're praying that he'll pull through and make a full recovery."

Bono has always been very close to his father and brother ever since his mother Iris passed away when he was just 14. His best pal Gavin Friday revealed in a book about the band that Bono was devastated by her death.

Last November Bono hosted a lavish surprise celebration for his father's birthday at the Clarence Hotel in Dublin which the band own.

They transformed the place into a glitzy, disco venue for the karaoke event. But before they even got to the hotel, Mr. Hewson was amazed to see posters of himself on lamp-posts and crash barriers along the quays of the Liffey.

Bono and Norman wanted to make sure it was a party to remember and that their father enjoyed himself.

Both their families turned up to celebrate and Bob was thrilled to spend time with his grandchildren.

Entertainment for the night included the karaoke machine as well as two exotic belly dancers.

Bono's bandmate Adam Clayton was at the event and guests sang the night away to hits by Abba and Steps.

Mr. Hewson moved his family from their original home in the Dublin suburb of Stillorgan to Ballymun on the northside when Bono was just a toddler.

At the time Iris was keen to live closer to her two sisters so Bob decided to make the move to the other side of the Liffey.

Norman has admitted their mother's death was a huge blow to the family.

He said: "We went through a particularly difficult time when our mother died.

"There was just dad and us two boys -- I was 21 and he was 14.

"Trying to maintain decent standards in the house was very hard. But the three of us pulled together and have remained close ever since."

Bono demonstrated the special bond with his father through music and wrote one of the songs on U2's Pop album for him.



© The Mirror, 2001. All rights reserved.



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