Thursday 25 August 2016

She was a daughter and sister, not just a cautionary tale

Published 17/11/2012 | 05:00

IT is always painful to see something beautiful extinguished.

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Nearly five years on from the death of Katy French, who collapsed and died after taking cocaine a few days after her 24th birthday, the terrible loss to her family and close friends was relived this week.

While her death is ever present to her parents and sister, the rest of the country was reminded this week of the tragic tale of a star who shone too brightly before burning out.

Even today, almost half a decade since her death, Katy's life and death continues to fascinate, for the sadness of a young life cut short and for the part she played in her own destruction.

Katy had so much going on for her at the time of her death.

She was beautiful, she was by all accounts bright, and her career was really taking off.

Model, socialite and 'It' girl were the titles most often used to describe her, with their vacuous connotations.

But she was also a daughter and a sister; an astute business woman and charity worker.

That she should be remembered as some sort of symbol of the excesses of the Celtic Tiger and as a cautionary tale against recreational drug taking must be terribly upsetting to those who knew her best.

Irish people take drugs every weekend. The difference between them and Katy is that most of them don't die and very few of them are celebrities.

What might have been a youthful foible or an experimental thing if it hadn't had that awful outcome now defines how most people think of Katy French.

Her error in judgment in December 2007 may have resulted in her losing her life, but it would be a shame that the manner of her death should be her legacy.

Katy's family may never get the answers they want – including why she took drugs – but with at least one chapter in this sad story now closing, they may be able to remember her life and not her death.

Irish Independent

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