THE son of the Anglican minister who traced US President Barack Obama's Irish roots is to undergo surgery today for a brain tumour.
Rev Canon Stephen Neill and his wife Nicola were holidaying in the Canary island of Tenerife when their only child Aaron (14) collapsed on Saturday.
The reverend, who met the president and first lady during their visit to Moneygall, Co Offaly, in May, confirmed his son is to undergo neurosurgery in Tenerife today.
"He's very ill, but he's making good progress," he told the Irish Independent last night. In a tweet on Saturday Rev Neill wrote: "Please pray for our son Aaron who collapsed unconscious today with us on holidays in Tenerife -- scan shows brain tumour."
In an update posted yesterday, Rev Neill said doctors are pleased with his progress as he awaits transfer to a neurosurgical ward today. He underwent initial surgery on Saturday where it was feared he had suffered "substantial brain damage". However, yesterday Rev Neill said the medical team was pleased with his progress.
He said: "Great news -- Aaron has woken up. Recognised us and very responsive -- can't talk due to tube but has control of limbs and pulling out tubes."
Rev Neill made headlines around the world after his research led to the discovery of Mr Obama's great-great-grandfather Joseph Kearney had been baptised in the parish of Moneygall.