'She was extremely loved' - Girl (11) who died suddenly had 'unknowingly developed diabetes'
The heartbroken family of a schoolgirl who died suddenly this week have revealed that she had unknowingly developed Type 1 Diabetes.
Maddy-Leigh Harbinson (11), from Collingdale in Lurgan, Co Armagh, passed away at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital on Monday from multiple organ failure after falling ill at the weekend.
She was a former pupil of Carrick Primary School in Lurgan and St Anthony's Primary School, Craigavon.
Maddy-Leigh had just started Lismore Comprehensive School in Craigavon last September.
Her death is being mourned by her devastated parents, Sabrina (nee McComb) and Colin Harbinson, and her brother, Tristen.
In a statement released last night on the eve of her funeral, Maddy-Leigh's family described her as a "bright, pleasant girl" who was "extremely loved".
The family said: "It is with profound sadness that Sabrina and Colin Harbinson mourn the sudden loss of their daughter, Maddy-Leigh, aged 11.
"She is survived by her only brother, Tristen.
"Maddy-Leigh passed away in the Belfast Royal Victoria Hospital on Monday. Maddy-Leigh unknowingly developed Type 1 diabetes that resulted in multiple organ failure.
"Maddy-Leigh was a pupil in Year 8 at Lismore Comprehensive School.
"She was a bright, pleasant girl who enjoyed baking, drama and attended FADD for dancing along with singing coaching.
"She was extremely loved and will be greatly missed, such was the bond as a daughter, granddaughter, god-daughter, cousin and niece.
"Sabrina and Colin would like to thank the ambulance service, Craigavon Area Hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children Intensive Care Unit, St Anthony's Parish Craigavon, the surrounding parishes of Lurgan, Lismore Comprehensive School, Newmills Presbyterian Church, FADD and the family and friends who have prayed and supported them through this difficult and tragic time."
Last year, Maddy-Leigh raised €230 (£200) for Action MS, Northern Ireland's multiple sclerosis charity and was recognised for this outstanding achievement.
In a statement yesterday, a spokesperson for the charity said the organisation was heartbroken. "It is with great sadness that we at Action MS have learned of the sudden passing of Maddy-Leigh Harbinson," they added.
"Our sincere thoughts and prayers to all her friends, family, pupils and staff at Lismore Comprehensive School, Craigavon.
"We were delighted that Maddy-Leigh attended our recent Thank You Luncheon for the Walk for MS and was presented with a plaque for her outstanding contribution to our work. (She is) an absolute star."
She is survived by her parents, brother, grandparents, aunties, uncles and entire family circle.