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Singer Van Morrison denies baby report

DUBLIN/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Singer Van Morrison on Thursday denied that he had fathered a child with his manager, saying a widely reported statement that appeared on his website three days ago was the result of a hacking attack.

Irish state broadcaster RTE published a statement signed by the publicity-shy blues and R&B singer-songwriter that says a birth announcement on his website on Monday was "completely and utterly without foundation."

A statement saying that "Gigi and Van Morrison are very proud to announce the birth of their first born son, George Ivan Morrison III," was also distributed to the media by the Belfast-born singer's Los Angeles-based publicist, Phil Lobel.

Lobel described Gigi Lee to Reuters on Monday as Morrison's manager and "mother of his child." Morrison, 64, was reported on Thursday as telling a friend he did not even know the name.

Lobel said in a statement on Thursday that his office had "passed along information from the official website of Van Morrison, which we are now told had been hacked. All those with Van Morrison regret any confusion this may have caused."

Morrison said he had asked his management to investigate the hacking attack, adding that it was the second in three months.

Earlier on Thursday, John Saunders, a friend and Dublin-based executive at public relations agency Fleishman-Hillard, said Van Morrison had told him that he did not know Gigi.

"He has said to me on the phone today, he has said it's not true," Saunders told Reuters in Dublin. "He has never heard of this person Gigi, the name means nothing to him."

Gigi Lee is listed as the executive producer of Morrison's 2009 " 'Astral Weeks' Live at the Hollywood Bowl" concert DVD. The LA Weekly described Lee as being backstage during its May 2009 interview with Morrison, and the British Sunday Times quoted her in a September 2009 story about a forthcoming documentary on Morrison.

Morrison said in his statement that he was "very happily married to Michelle Morrison with whom I have two wonderful children."

Asked why Morrison had waited several days to deny the baby story, 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, also has an adult daughter, singer-songwriter Shana Morrison, from his first marriage.

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 in Dublin and Jill Serjeant in Los Angeles: Editing by Xavier Briand)

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