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Friday 19 January 2018

Deceased Everest climber did not know wife had just given birth

Brian Hutton

An Irish man who has died attempting to reach the summit of Everest did not know his wife had just given birth to a baby girl back home.

John Delaney, 42, from Kilcock, Co Kildare, is understood to have collapsed less than 50 metres from reaching the top and realising his ultimate dream. He is the first Irish man to die on the world's highest mountain.

The climber, a managing director of an online market prediction company, died on Saturday but because his team was out of contact with base camp during the final stage of the trek it has only just been confirmed.

Mr Delaney - who also had two young sons, Caspar, three, and two-year-old Alexander - died without knowing his wife Orla, 39, gave birth to a girl last Wednesday. She is to be called Hope.

Orla's brother Liam Hurley said Mr Delaney lived for his family.

"The one person who can describe him best is the one person who can`t speak at the moment, and that's Orla," he told the Press Association.

"He was a generous, loving guy - the family came first for him. He adored his two children, and he spent as much time as he could with them. It's just a shame he's not going to get to meet the third."

The family's heartbreak has been compounded by the inability of the expedition team to bring Mr Delaney's body back from the notorious Himalayan peak. Instead it will remain where he died.

"It would too dangerous to expect people to bring his body back, he was too far up," said a distraught Mr Hurley. There`s nothing they can do."

Mr Delaney and his wife were married five years ago. He had been mountaineering for several years and was attempting to conquer Everest for the second time after a failed bid, also five years ago.

He was originally from Ballinakill, Co Kilkenny, where his mother still lives. He also leaves a brother and a sister. A memorial service will be held at 2pm on Friday at St Brigid's Church in Ballinakill.

Mr Hurley said his own three brothers and other sister, all from Lucan in Co Dublin, were trying to comfort Orla.

"She`s not good. We`re all just trying to spend time with her and we are not leaving her," he said.

"She just can`t believe it`s happened. She was just thinking about when he was coming home, she wasn`t thinking about anything else."

Mr Hurley said the young boys don`t understand what has happened.

"I didn`t see him as a brother-in-law, I saw him more as a friend," he added. "We were very close, and he was a very, very good guy. We`re all going to miss him so much."

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