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Talented sportsman (23) dies while running Phoenix Park half-marathon


A young runner who died of a suspected heart attack during the Dublin half-marathon on Saturday had been due to celebrate his 24th birthday yesterday.

John McHugh suffered a 'cardiac event' and collapsed near the finishing line during the SSE Airtricity run in the Phoenix Park.

A number of participants rushed to his aid and began performing emergency CPR until the St John's Ambulance medical team arrived.

Some of the runners who spotted him on the ground were trained paramedics and began treating the man before medical teams took over.

Hundreds of participants in the race witnessed the incident but were told by ambulance crews to keep moving.

Mr McHugh was taken to Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown but was pronounced dead a short time later.

The 23-year-old was school vice-captain during his final year in Belvedere College in Dublin, which he left in 2010.

In a moving tribute, the College Union paid special tribute to the former pupil as someone who was held in high regard among his peers. The statement said it had learned of his death with "great sadness".

"Due to turn 24 today, John has been taken from us all too quick, but those of us lucky enough to know him can consider ourselves truly privileged.

"John embodied all the qualities of a true man for others.

"As president of the Belvedere Junior Union for the past year, John worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the Panda Cup in aid of fellow Belvederian Jonathan Ranson and the soup run for the Christmas sleep-out.

"A talented sportsman, artist and designer, John will be remembered for many things.

"He will be remembered most, however, as a friend."

In a statement, the half-marathon organisers said: "With great regret we must confirm that a 23-year-old man passed away at today's race.

"We would like to commend the St John's Ambulance medical team, and all those who looked after the young man, and express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.

"We ask that you respect the family's privacy at this time."

Irish Independent