'Taken from us too soon': Kiwi man's former partner praises U2 for touching Auckland tribute after tragic death

Since arriving in New Zealand, Irish rockers U2 have made it known Kiwi man Greg Carroll has never been far from their thoughts. 

But for one Kiwi woman, honouring his memory has gifted her another chance at reliving her own precious times spent with him during their friendship and subsequent relationship. 

Carol Coleman says she is immensely grateful for their dedication to acknowledging Carroll's life. 

"I have lovely memories of Greg and his sense of humour," she told Newshub.  

She met Carroll aged 12 during their time at the same intermediate school. 

After reconnecting years later, their friendship grew deeper and in 1977 they started dating, forming a relationship which lasted a year until Carroll left uni to chase the big time. 

It would be only six years later the band, now known as the world's best-selling music artists, would grow to consider her ex-boyfriend as family after a chance meeting during the band's first time in New Zealand ahead of their Auckland concert in 1984. 

Carol Coleman and Greg Carroll first met at intermediate school before reconnecting a few years later and falling in love.
Carol Coleman and Greg Carroll first met at intermediate school before reconnecting a few years later and falling in love. Photo credit: Supplied

The encounter, initially with Bono, evolved into a close friendship between Carroll and the group which landed him a job as their stagehand. 

As a crewmember, he was a part of the band’s iconic 1985 Live Aid performance.   

But tragically, months later Carroll's life was cut short when he was killed in a motorcycle accident in Dublin, aged 26. 

This week, their kind gestures have meant so much by Coleman who remembers Carroll for his love of laughing and huge grin. 

"He loved skateboarding and was a very cool dancer. He was very friendly," she said. 

The pair were together a year before Carroll left university to chase the big time.
The pair were together a year before Carroll left university to chase the big time. Photo credit: Supplied.

At one stage, her nickname became Carol Carroll.  She says at 18, Carroll dreamed big and wanted to create a legacy. 

"He dreamed of being famous and we all scoffed as it seemed so out of his reach," she says. 

Coleman says she has loved reading more about Carroll's career and seeing clips of him rushing around Live Aid, during U2's time in New Zealand. 

"I am so glad he found his niche with them and it was obviously mutual respect and affection between them," she says. 

Earlier this week, the band were spotted at One Tree Hill where Carroll and Bono had spent time together during the frontman's first trip to New Zealand. 

The band would pen the hit One Tree Hill, released in 1987, in his honour which they performed for the Mt Smart audience on Friday night

U2 played a phenomenal show on Friday night at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium where they made the tribute to Carroll.
U2 played a phenomenal show on Friday night at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium where they made the tribute to Carroll. Photo credit: Dara Munnis

It was put out as a New Zealand exclusive single, going on to reach number one in the charts in 1988.

Before the performance, Bono told the crowd how Carroll grew to form such a closeness with the superstars. 

“We sort of adopted him, or perhaps it was the other way around," he said. 

“But we were very grateful for his companionship over those precious times together. He was taken from us too soon, but in a certain way, he’s still very present. This is for Greg Carroll. This is One Tree Hill."

Coleman didn't attend his tangi but went to the unveiling and heard the band's tribute during the service.

She believes the connection between Carroll and bandmates Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. would have meant so much to him. 

Now, she has a message for them. 

"Thank you for continuing to pay tribute to Greg and the work that he did," she says. 

"He would be honoured to see his image on the big screen and grateful for their ongoing tributes to him, probably chuckle to himself too.   

"RIP Greg." 

Newshub.

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