EAMONN Holmes told the Loose Women panel his wife Ruth is "broken" following the tragic death of her sister Julia earlier this week.
The presenter hosted today's edition of This Morning alongside Rylan Clark-Neal, and in a videolink to the programme's sister show he welled up as he explained how the loss had devastated Ruth.
The panel were shown offering their best wishes to Ruth following the tragic news, with Andrea McLean telling Eamonn: "We want to send all our love to Ruth. Please let her know all of us at Loose Women are thinking of her."
Visibly moved, he replied: "I really appreciate it, guys. She's broken."
Eamonn got choked up earlier in the show as he paid an emotional tribute to Julia, who died aged 62.
He was comforted by Rylan as he struggled to read out Ruth's Instagram message about her bereavement.
Rylan stepped in to cover for Ruth, 59, as she takes time off to grieve after Julia Johnson tragically died following a long illness.
Following the ITV show's opening credits, Eamonn took a moment to say a few words about his sister-in-law.
He told viewers: "Before we get underway let me explain why it is Rylan and myself today.
"You may be aware of the terrible bereavement Ruth had yesterday."
He went on to read out the Instagram message his wife had shared yesterday morning to inform followers of her loss.
However, it all got too much for Eamonn, with the 59-year-old star audibly choking up before struggling to finish his sentence.
Rylan was quick to step in, reading out the remainder of the message with his own voice noticeably cracking.
Eamonn went on to thank his co-star for stepping in, adding: "Nobody understands more than Rylan, he has been a great comfort to Ruth and a great help."
Rylan replied: "I know Ruth is watching and we are sending all our love, and love to you, Eamonn.
"Ruth's going to need time and so will you, I couldn't not be here."
Eamonn added: "Rylan was the first person I phoned when I heard this news, we've got each other."
Ruth told fans yesterday that she was "distraught" after she received the shock news on Monday that her elder sister Julia had died.
Devastated Ruth has cancelled all TV appearances until further notice with friends saying that she is too upset to return to work.
Writing on social media, Ruth said: "My lovely sis Julia has sadly died after a very long illness. My heart is completely broken.
"She was the kindest and most gentle soul and I will miss her forever. As I am sure you will appreciate I need to take time to grieve with my family. Thank you for your understanding."
A source told The Sun Online: "Ruth is utterly heartbroken and devastated to have found out her beloved sister Julia has died.
"She adored Julia. They were very close – speaking all the time on the phone and enjoying girls’ days out.
"Julia had been unwell for quite some time but this has shaken Ruth to the core.
"Eammon and son Jack are comforting her at home but Ruth is in deep shock. It’s absolutely heartbreaking for the whole family."
Julia had been suffering with depression for a number of years.
The landscape gardener who lived in Surrey with husband Paul and daughter Katie, 35, had spoken publicly about her battle with the illness and revealed how supportive Ruth had been, letting her stay at her home and helping with her confidence.
Speaking in an interview in 2010, Julia said: "Ruth has been really supportive. I’d phone her in tears and go stay with her.
"She encourages me to have more confidence in myself and when I’m trying to do too much she has taught me to say no and look after myself a bit more. She’s the best sister anyone could have.”
The source added: "They were very close and Julia would help with looking after their elderly mother Joan. Ruth would help her as much as she could."
Surrey Police issued a statement concerning Julia's "unexplained" death.
They said: "We were called to an address in Lingfield on 16 June following reports of a concern for safety.
"Officers attended and found that a woman in her 60s had sadly died.
"We are treating the death as unexplained, but do not believe at this stage that there was anyone else involved. A file will be prepared and passed to the coroner."
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