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Counties united in grief over pregnant mum's death

Marcella Breen Gilliland: suspected heart attack

FORMER neighbours of the tragic mum who died in childbirth will travel from Tipperary to Co Monaghan this morning to attend her funeral.

Marcella Breen Gilliland died of a suspected heart attack on her 39th birthday on Tuesday, moments before her baby daughter, Ava, was delivered by emergency C-section at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth.

She is survived by her grief-stricken husband, Andrew and sons Adam (4) and Mark (2).

Yesterday, hundreds of neighbours, work colleagues and friends rallied around the family at their rural home just outside Ballybay, Co Monaghan, to offer their sympathy and support.

News of the tragedy has united two counties in grief.

In the deceased woman's hometown of Tipperary, friends and neighbours were preparing last night for the long journey to her funeral.

The devoted mum, who worked as a nurse, was from a well-known family in Roseboro on the Emly road outside Tipperary town, where her parents Francis and Teresa live.

Speaking from Tipperary town yesterday afternoon, family friend, Archdeacon Matthew McGrath said the community was in shock.

"The news of the tragedy has only really broken here this morning and there is an enormous depth of sympathy for the family.

"Marcella grew up here and went to school in Tipperary town. She got married in St Michael's in Tipperary. They are a very well-known family and very good church people to us here," he said.

He added that it was "unbelievable" to think that a young mother under 40 could die in such tragic circumstances.

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"Neighbours are very distressed and are travelling up to Ballybay tomorrow, out of loyalty to her family," he said.

The tragic mum, who was 10 days overdue, had attended a routine appointment in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and returned home.

But her husband, Andrew, a farmer, drove her back to the hospital after she began complaining of chest pains.

She died shortly after she was admitted to hospital. The family, who have appealed for privacy have asked for donations to be made to the Irish Heart Foundation.

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