TWO heartbroken parents will today bid an emotional farewell to their baby son who died from cot death at his creche.
Patrick Michael O'Loughlin -- who was 21 months old -- died on Tuesday afternoon from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), or cot death, at Little Treasures creche in Dooradoyle, Co Limerick.
Management at the popular creche and paramedics unsuccessfully tried to revive the toddler. Following his death, the creche contacted other parents to take their children home.
As a mark of respect to the young boy, the creche will remain closed until next week.
Surrounded by his toys, little Patrick was laid out in his cot at his home in Dooradoyle last night as grieving relatives and friends attempted to comfort his inconsolable parents, Pat and Stephanie.
They told the Irish Independent that as small and young as their "precious little boy" was, "he already had a huge heart".
"He was with us for just 21 months, but in that short time he touched not only our lives, but also those of so many others," they said.
"He was always open, trusting and friendly with everyone he met -- family, friend or stranger.
"Patrick adored his grandparents, aunts and uncles both in Ireland and Germany. He loved spending time visiting the cows, chickens and dog -- Toby -- out at his grandparents," they added.
The couple said they could not "comprehend" why he had been "snatched from our lives so soon and so suddenly".
"We are sitting here in front of his little cot where he is lying, out of the corner of our eye it sometimes looks as though we can see the gentle rise and fall of his chest as he is sleeping.
"When we stoop to give him a kiss, we know this is one sleep he will not wake up from and it tears us apart," they said.
Pat and Stephanie recalled how their son had a passion for books and animals and possessed an inquisitive nature.
"He had just begun to say a few words here and there. He had learned that ducks say 'quack, quack' and cows say 'moo'."
In a heartfelt tribute, Patrick's parents said he "was a ray of sunshine from the day he was born and the easiest baby anyone could have asked for".
"We feel extremely grateful for every day we have been allowed to spend with him. We just wish there could have been more days. He will forever be in our hearts and memories," they said.
A Mass will be held in Our Lady Help of Christians Church, Milford, Castletroy, Limerick, today followed by burial afterwards at Clooney, Co Clare.