Friday 25 May 2018

Mother 'devastated' after sudden death of son (15) who was hit by flu-like symptoms

Sean Hughes
Sean Hughes

Laura Lynott and Catherine Devine

A mother says her heart has been "broken into a million pieces" in the wake of her 15-year-old son's sudden death after suffering flu-like symptoms.

Seán Hughes (15), from Finglas, Dublin, had just returned to school after the Christmas break when he became ill on Wednesday.

He passed away early on Friday morning at Temple Street Hospital.

"My heart is broken into a million pieces and it'll never be fixed," said Seán's mother Karen. Weeping, she added: "I'm going to miss him really, really terribly. We all will."

The teenager, who had no underlying health complaints, deteriorated within hours of flu-like symptoms taking hold.

"I brought Seán to the GP, she said he had a flu but he had a chest infection too," Karen said. "Seán started an antibiotic on Wednesday morning. The GP was afraid he'd get pneumonia.

Sean Hughes idolised hip-hop stars and was a renowed local rapper
Sean Hughes idolised hip-hop stars and was a renowed local rapper

"By Thursday evening I was concerned that he wasn't getting any better, so I told his dad Joe I'd be bringing him back to the doctor on Friday because the surgery was shut on Thursday night."

Tragically, Karen never made it back to the GP. Now just days after Seán - a talented rapper nicknamed Lil' Red - became ill, she is planning his funeral, where a selection of his original tracks will be played in tribute.

Mother-of-two Karen was so concerned about Seán that she stayed up with him on Thursday night. The teenager couldn't sleep, so they watched TV together on the sofa.

"We were sitting downstairs watching Netflix at around 11.50pm.Seán was talking to me and next of all he wasn't talking and I knew straight away there was something wrong," Karen said.

"I called Joe out of bed, he administered CPR while we waited for the ambulance. Joe did great, then the paramedics came and worked on Seán for a long time.

"They got him into the hospital at around 12.30am and they were brilliant at Temple Street. But Seán died at 6.30am Friday. I'll never forget it."

Despite Seán's rapid decline and the fact that he was suffering flu-like symptoms, the family are still awaiting the official outcome of his death.

"They did the post-mortem and we will find out in due course how Seán died," Karen said. "He didn't have any health conditions, he was a fine, healthy child."

Karen said Seán's older sister, Zoe (20), had commented that he was never sick as a child.

"Seán was always grand, I can't process it," Karen said.

"There are no words, it's senseless. He should be with us, he's a 15-year-old child."

Karen said Seán's symptoms included a chest infection, a runny nose, sleeplessness and that when he breathed it sounded "like a crackling".

"When I couldn't hear it (the crackling), I knew there was something wrong," she said.

The Coláiste Eoin pupil was a renowned local rapper who idolised US hip hop stars Notorious B.I.G, Tupac Shakur and Eminem.

He regularly performed at the Finglas Youth Resource Centre, where his young friends were offered a place to talk about their loss yesterday.

Seán (inset) had recently been awarded a school scholarship with the Rising Tide initiative, which would have helped him secure his dream to enter into the world of music.

"Seán was hugely into rap," Karen said. "We told him how talented he was all the time. He wanted to go to music college and produce music."

A pensioner who called in to see the family after their tragic loss recalled how the teenager had offered to carry his bags.

Another local woman said: "Seán had a light. He was so confident and happy."

"He was so loveable," Karen said. "He loved his hair, his designer clothes and aftershave and he used to say, 'Ma, do I look slick?'

"I'd say, 'Course you do, son.' He was a character, no matter who he met, he made an impact on them.

"We are utterly devastated."

The teenager's funeral will take place tomorrow at St Canice's Church, Finglas.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News