One of the last people to visit Sir Terry Wogan before he died Sunday, Jan. 31, was lifelong friend and Catholic priest, Father Brian D'Arcy, leading to speculation the self-confessed atheist may have turned back to God in his final weeks. Wogan died at the age of 77 after suffering from cancer.
Sir Terry, who was raised a strict Catholic in Limerick, Ireland, turned his back on religion at the age of 17, but in an interview last October admitted that he had not ruled out rediscovering his faith, reports The Telegraph.
"I don't believe in God. But when the Grim Reaper turns up, I may well think, 'Oh, just in case, let me leave an exit door open'," he explained with a twinkle in his eye.
Father D'Arcy, who knew Sir Terry for 40 years and presented Pause for Thought on his daily Radio 2 breakfast show, revealed how he had travelled from his home in Enniskillen on Thursday to "say goodbye."
"It was a desperately sad scene. It was the kind of sadness I haven't experienced, possibly outside my own parents death."
The priest said when he left Wogan's house, he knew he would never see him alive again on this Earth. "Naturally enough, what went on between the pastor and the patient will remain private, but yes, we had prayers for the family and Terry."
Father D'Arcy also said, "Terry had great respect for all religions, he would find structured religion difficult, but he had a deep spirituality and a great, innate goodness and a conviction you ought to use your gifts for the benefit of mankind, and he did that right to the end."
British Prime Minister David Cameron says Britain has "lost a huge talent." Wogan was a leading media personality in the United Kingdom from the late 1960s, and was often referred to as a "national treasure." Before he retired from his BBC Radio 2 weekday breakfast program "Wake Up to Wogan" in 2009, it had 8 million regular listeners, making him the most listened-to radio broadcaster in Europe.
Wogan acquired dual British and Irish citizenship in 2005. He was awarded a knighthood in the same year, and thus entitled to use "Sir" in front of his name.
Wogan's commentating style, which often involved humor at the expense of others, caused some minor controversies through the years.
Irish President, Michael D. Higgins, praised Wogan's career, and his frequent visits to his homeland.