Wicklow writer and director, Simon Fitzmaurice, has passed away at the age of 43 - just weeks after his groundbreaking documentary on Motor Neurone Disease was released.
In 2008, Simon Fitzmaurice was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. He was just 34-years-old. At the time, he was a young father of two, and his wife Ruth was pregnant with their third child. Doctors warned him that he had just four years to live.
The diagnosis came just after his second short film, The Sound of People, screened at the Sundance Film Festival.
Despite the odds – being completely paralysed, not being able to speak, swallow or breathe without artificial help – Simon went on to write and direct a feature film, My Name is Emily (2015), and write his groundbreaking memoir It’s Not Yet Dark (2017).
Remarkable story: It’s Not Yet Dark tells the story of film-maker Simon Fitzmaurice who developed Motor Neuron Disease
Simon received the Lifetime Achievement Award at London Screenwriter’s Festival in 2016 for My Name is Emily. It was also nominated for eight IFTA awards.
Finance for the movie was raised through a crowd-funding campaign in which celebrity friends such as Alan Rickman, Colin Farrell, Sam Neil, Kirsten Sheridan, Jim Sheridan, and Lenny Abrahamson all voiced their support.
George Webster and Evanna Lynch hit the road in 'My Name is Emily'.
His memoir, It's Not Dark Yet was adapted into a documentary and released earlier this month. Directed by Frankie Fenton and narrated by Colin Farrell, it tells the story of Simon's diagnosis of MND and how it has progressed and impacted on him and his young family.
He is survived by his wife Ruth and five young children: Jack, Raife, Arden and twins Sadie and Hunter.