'His dreams were bigger than his illness' - Tributes paid to filmmaker Simon Fitzmaurice who passed away at 43
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).
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.
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.
As the news of his passing was announced this morning, friends and fans took to social media to pay tribute to the inspirational filmmaker.
He is remembered for his powerful will to live in the face of overwhelming odds.
We're just crushed. Simon represents all that is good and beautiful worth fighting for in this world. Our thoughts are with Ruth, his kids and the Fitzmaurice clan.— Frankie Fenton (@FrankieFenton) October 27, 2017
Sad to hear the passing of Simon Fitzmaurice. It's Not Yet Dark is still in the cinemas. Go see it.— Gavin Burke (@CineramaGav) October 27, 2017
Please seek out Simon Fitzmaurice's My Name is Emily & the doc based on his life It's Not Yet Dark. His dreams were bigger than his illness.— Scannain (@Scannain_com) October 27, 2017
We’re so sorry to hear the news about Simon Fitzmaurice an incredible man, talented filmmaker & writer. Deepest condolences to Ruth & family— Penguin Random Ire (@PenguinRandomIE) October 27, 2017
Simon Fitzmaurice’s book, It’s Not Yet Dark, is the most beautiful account of how to really live, love and appreciate life. RIP— Aoife Stokes (@aoifstokes) October 27, 2017
So sad to hear of the passing of Simon Fitzmaurice, such an inspirational and talented filmmaker and writer. Condolences to his family. RIP. pic.twitter.com/xEqwsKitIX— WildcardDistribution (@WildCardDistrib) October 27, 2017