Mystery as Irish exchange student Nicola Furlong found dead in Tokyo hotel room
Published 25/05/2012 | 05:00
A YOUNG Irish student has been found dead in a hotel in Japan but her exact cause of death remains unclear.
Nicola Furlong (21), a Dublin City University student, travelled to Tokyo on an exchange programme last October and was studying in the city.
However, she was found dead in a hotel room yesterday after attending a concert.
There was no indication last night of how she died and her family must await the results of a post-mortem, which is due to be carried out in Tokyo today.
Her remains are expected to be returned within the next week.
Ms Furlong, from Curracloe, Co Wexford, is understood to have attended a concert by American rapper Nicki Minaj in the city a short time before she died.
Her parents Andrew and Angie and her siblings were attempting to come to terms with the news which they only received yesterday morning.
"The parents don't even know (the cause of death) yet; they are waiting on the post-mortem," a source close to the family said.
"It's just a complete mystery. It's a shock that she is dead at 21 but not even to have a reason -- they don't even know yet."
Nicola Furlong was in her third year of an international business and languages degree and was due to return home shortly.
She was studying in Tokyo for the year but was not believed to have been working in the city.
It is understood that she travelled to Tokyo with a fellow DCU student on the Erasmus programme.
Ms Furlong's family are well-known for operating the Roadhouse Bar in Curracloe, a popular social spot in the area.
They are also involved in horse racing and with the Shelmaliers Ladies Football Club where Nicola played camogie.
Friends and club members have been left in a state of shock with the news of her death.
"We are devastated for Nicola's family who have just lost a loved one in the prime of her life," said one.
"She was a lovely young girl who had a full life ahead of her. She was really interested in sport.
"No doubt she was looking forward to becoming involved with her local club and friends on her return home. That is not to be.
"We are all left shocked and devastated."
Police in Toyko are investigating Nicola's death but could not be contacted for comment last night.
A DCU course co-ordinator is currently in Japan liaising with the authorities.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was aware of the situation and was offering consular assistance to the family.
A neighbour said last night: "It's just desperate. We are all here to support the family through this devastating news.
"This is a well-known and respected family. What can we say but pray for the family at this moment and time."