Ryan Tubridy paid tribute to Vicky Phelan during Friday night's Late Show, describing her as "possibly the best President this country never had".

The cervical cancer campaigner passed away in the early hours of Monday morning at Milford Hospice in Limerick at the age of 48.

The first part of The Late Late Show reflected on Vicky’s life and her activism, including footage of her during her campaign, and was followed by a discussion about Vicky and a musical tribute by her favourite band, The Stunning.

"We knew this would end badly, we knew this story would end sadly," Ryan Tubridy told the audience. "But, to be honest with you, it was still a shock when the news came through that Vicky had died.

"Our thoughts tonight are with the family of Vicky Phelan."

Ryan went on to praise her remarkable determination and spirit, which made her a household name and a national hero in recent years.

"Through her refusal to be silenced she saved lives," he said. "And few people in recent Irish history have made such a profound difference on women’s health care and how patients are treated.

"She fought the system while she herself was suffering. She was as honest, she was a straight-talker. And when she talked, the country listened."

He added: "We’ve lost an ally and an advocate, the likes of which we may never see again.

Vicky on The Late Late Show

Recalling several interviews he had with Vicky on The Late Late Show, Ryan noted "her dignity, and her tenacity and her courage. But also her divilment. Because she was a fun person to be around as well. Let’s not lose sight of that.

"She was fun, she was quick with a laugh and forever erring beautifully on the side of joy. And you all knew when Vicky Phelan was in the room.

"A natural leader, she was possibly the best President this country never had. And she made a point of squeezing so much into her final years. She taught the rest of us how to live.

"May she rest in peace. A peace that she so richly deserves."

The Late Late Show, Fridays, RTÉ One