THE family of racing magnate JP McManus are grieving the sudden death of his daughter-in-law Emma.
The daughter of former Irish tennis star Peter Ledbetter, who was married to Mr McManus’s son John, died suddenly on Wednesday morning in Barbados.
She was staying a private villa on the grounds of the luxury Sandy Lane resort, Barbados, which was purchased in the late 1990s by JP McManus, financier Dermot Desmond, and horse breeder John Magnier.
It is understood that Ms McManus (40), originally from Blackrock, Co Dublin, awoke in her room in the early hours of and complained of feeling unwell.
Sources said Ms McManus was brought to a local medical centre where she was pronounced dead a short time later.
Members of the McManus and Ledbetter families had flown to the eastern Caribbean island to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve together, in what has been a longstanding family tradition.
Emma and John were known by friends as “a very private couple” with three children under the age of nine, based at a luxury property in Chelsea, London.
“It’s terrible, as far as is known Emma had no serious health issues. No one knows what exactly caused her death, there was no warning. Everyone is obviously devastated, it’s massively shocking,” said one.
“Emma was a vibrant, outgoing person and she was very well liked by everyone; despite their obvious wealth they are two of the most down to earth people you could meet.”
“We’re especially heartbroken for John and the children, what’s happened is every family’s worst nightmare. John is a really compassionate guy, our hearts go out to him.”
A Royal Barbados Police spokesman said they had ruled out foul play and were treating it as a sudden death.
A post mortem is to be carried out on Ms McManus’s body to help find a cause of death.
The police spokesman said that it was expected that “after the post mortem the investigation will be finished”.
He explained that local autopsies can take “up to a week”, however this would be “up to the pathologist and the coroner”.
Ms McManus is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, while her husband John, a former student at private school Glenstal Abbey private school, Murroe, Co Limerick, has built a successful career trading in antiques, sculpture and art.
The couple married in Portugal in October, 2010.
Ms McManus’s father Peter Ledbetter is a graduate of TCD, UCD, and Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts.
He represented Ireland at tennis, and helped build up the late Tony Ryan’s commercial aircraft sales and leasing company Guinness Peat Aviation in the 1970s.