Michaela Harte dies on honeymoon
Published 10/01/2011 | 18:44
The daughter of Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has been found dead on her honeymoon in Mauritius.
Emergency services were called to her hotel, where she had been staying with her husband.
Michaela Harte, 27, married John McAreavey, a Down GAA footballer just after Christmas. They started their honeymoon by flying to Dubai.
A joint statement by Mr Harte and Catholic Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey said: "We wish to confirm that we have received confirmation this afternoon that Michaela, married on December 30 2010 to John McAreavey, was killed today in Mauritius where the couple were on honeymoon.
"We ask for prayers for Michaela, John and their families and loved ones.
"Both families are deeply shocked and devastated by this tragic news and they ask for privacy and space at this time of profound grief."
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin said: "We are providing consular assistance to the family of an Irish citizen who passed away in Mauritius."
According to one unconfirmed report, the bride, who taught Irish at St Patrick's Girls Academy in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, had been swimming in her hotel pool before she died.
It was her father, manager of the three-times all-Ireland football champions, who drove the newly-married couple to Dublin airport.
Bishop McAreavey, an uncle of the groom, married the couple at St Malachy's Church at Ballymacilroy, not far from the bride's parents' home at Glencull Road, off the main road between Omagh and Ballygawley, Co Tyrone.
Father Brian Hackett, the family priest, said: "Her big thing was her daddy being the manager of Tyrone. She went everywhere with him. She was a religious girl. She was a dedicated Tyrone supporter."
Friends of Mr Harte said tonight the Tyrone manager and his wife Marian worshipped their daughter.
Journalist Adrian Logan, a former sports presenter with Ulster Television, said: "Mickey adored her. He was totally devoted. He just thought the world of her. He told me: 'She's my little jewel'."
Michaela was at her father's side the three times his team won the all-Ireland championship at Croke Park, Dublin, in 2003, 2005 and 2008.
Mr Logan added: "He refused to do any post-match interviews after those games until she stood beside him. That's how much she meant to him. She was his number one fan."
It is believed the honeymoon couple were staying at Legends Hotel in the fishing village of Grand Gaube, not far from Grand Bay, in the north-eastern corner of Mauritius.
Hotel resident manager Xavier Arnoux said a body was found in a hotel room at around 3pm local time (11am Irish time).
"We had an accident this afternoon, but we cannot speak too much about it because it is in police hands now," he said.
"It appears that a husband found the body of his wife."
Mr Arnoux said a doctor was called to the scene, as were police.
This is standard procedure in the event of a dead person being discovered, he said.
The hotel manager said the body was removed from the hotel for an autopsy.
Mr Arnoux said staff were shocked by the incident. He believed the couple had been staying at the hotel for a few days.
A spokeswoman for Legends Hotel said the complex remains open while investigations are carried out.
"We have had an accident here at the hotel," she said.
"We have had one death. There is an investigation under way. The hotel management is giving all its support to the police."