THE husband of former Tanaiste Mary Coughlan died at the weekend, just hours before he had hoped to watch his native Mayo take on Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final on television.
Kiltimagh native David Charlton (48) passed away at his home in Frosses, Co Donegal, with his wife Mary and children Cathal (15) and Meabh (13) by his side.
The garda had been diagnosed with lung cancer six months ago and had gone home from Letterkenny General Hospital three weeks ago after being told the illness was terminal.
Yesterday, a Donegal flag fluttered in the breeze alongside a Mayo flag at the laneway leading to the family home.
Many of Mr Charlton's colleagues from Glenties station, where he had been based, and from around the north-west, were among the hundreds of people who attended his wake yesterday.
Fianna Fail representatives said Ms Coughlan wanted him to be remembered "as a great husband, loving father and dedicated member of An Garda Siochana".
Family friends said the whole family had been eagerly looking forward to watching yesterday's All-Ireland semi-final clash on TV, but Mr Charlton passed away on Saturday evening.
"No one expected him to go so quickly," said one family friend last night. "David was one of life's true gentlemen."
Mr Charlton met the former Fianna Fail TD while he was serving at Leinster House. They had been married for 21 years.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said: "I would like to express my deep sympathy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time."
Mr Charlton's funeral Mass is at 12 noon tomorrow in St Mary's Church, Frosses, with interment afterwards in Cranny Road Cemetery.