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Irish radio says Van Morrison denies baby report
DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish state broadcaster RTE said on Thursday it had received a statement from Van Morrison denying widespread media reports that the singer had fathered a child with his manager.
The statement published on RTE's website www.rte.ie says that reports which said Morrison had fathered a child with Gigi Lee were the result of a "hacking attack" on the 64-year-old Belfast-born singer's website.
"The comments which appeared on my website did not come from me," said the statement that RTE published as signed by Van Morrison. "They are completely and utterly without foundation."
Van Morrison and his official representatives were not immediately available for comment.
The www.vanmorrison.com website on Thursday contained only links to his other sites on youtube.com, facebook.com and myspace.com and a note that a new website was coming soon.
Earlier on Thursday, John Saunders, a Dublin-based executive at public relations agency Fleishman-Hillard, told RTE radio and Reuters that Van Morrison had told him over the telephone the reports he had fathered a baby were false.
"He has said to me on the phone today, he has said it's not true," Saunders told Reuters. "He has never heard of this person Gigi, the name means nothing to him."
Saunders said that Van Morrison was a long-time friend but not a client of his agency.
Newspapers and agencies reported on Monday that Morrison had become a father for the fourth time after his manager gave birth to a son described as "the spitting image of his daddy."
"Gigi (Lee) and Van Morrison are proud to announce the birth of their first born son, George Ivan Morrison III," said reports sourced to the website www.vanmorrison.com.
Asked why Morrison had waited several days to deny the statement, Saunders said that the singer was not good at handling his public relations.
"Van is a mystery man in many ways, his fans will testify to that," Saunders told RTE.
Morrison, whose 45-year career spans soul, blues, jazz, R&B and country, has a 39-year-old daughter, singer-songwriter Shana Morrison, from his first marriage to Janet "Planet" Minto and two other children with Irish socialite Michelle Rocca.
"For the avoidance of all doubt and in the interests of clarity, I am very happily married to Michelle Morrison with whom I have two wonderful children," said the statement attributed to Morrison on the RTE website.
Famed for such tunes as "Gloria" and "Brown Eyed Girl," he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 but declined to attend the ceremony.
(Reporting by Andras Gergely, editing by Paul Casciato)