Tuesday 12 November 2019

'She left a trail of glitter and joy in her life'

Husband's touching tribute after death of author and cancer activist Emma

Bestselling author Emma Hannigan, who died on Saturday aged 45 following an 11-year battle with breast cancer
Bestselling author Emma Hannigan, who died on Saturday aged 45 following an 11-year battle with breast cancer
The late Emma Hannigan pictured with boxer Katie Taylor
The late Emma Hannigan pictured with fellow author Cathy Kelly launching breast cancer awareness campaigns during her cancer battle.

Seán O'Grady

Author Emma Hannigan's husband Cian has paid tribute to his wife after she died on Saturday following a battle with breast cancer.

Cian took to her Facebook page to express his love for the Wicklow woman (45).

"Today, my Emma found peace. She bravely fought a battle against a foe with no mercy.

"Emma was the epitome of strength, love and generosity, beyond anything I have ever known," he wrote.

"She loved her family, loved her friends and she left a trail of glitter and joy throughout her life... with, of course, added tinsel at Christmas.

"She was my wife and soulmate. Mother of my beautiful children, a friend to many and an inspiration to thousands. A loving daughter, devoted mother.

"She was my guiding star and my hug to say everything would be okay.

"But mostly, she was just my Emma and I would need her wonderful gift with words to tell you just how much I will miss her."

Emma, who was mother to Sacha (17) and Kim (15), had been fighting breast cancer for several years and had fought it off 10 times before she finally passed away.

In 2005, the writer discovered that she was carrying the BRCA 1 cancer gene, which meant an 85pc chance of developing breast cancer and a 50pc chance of ovarian cancer.

To reduce her risk to 5pc, the author had surgery to remove her breasts, ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Despite this, she was still diagnosed with cancer in 2007, beginning her 11-year battle with the disease.

Emma's funeral service will take place in Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church in Foxrock, Dublin, on Wednesday, followed by a burial in Shanganagh Cemetery in Shankill.

Tributes have poured in for the author since her death was announced.

President Michael D Higgins released a statement saying: "It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of Emma Hannigan, a campaigner to the end.

"Emma Hannigan leaves a lasting legacy not only through her work as a much-appreciated author, but also through her exemplary courage in dealing with terminal illness.

"She will be remembered as a powerful advocate for Breast Cancer Ireland, a great cause, worthy of our support."

Businesswoman and TV personality Norah Casey said: "A wonderful courageous woman just left our world; my heartfelt condolences to her wonderful family."

'Fair City' actress and fellow author Claudia Carroll said: "Heartbroken to hear the sad news about our beautiful, brave Emma Hannigan. Tonight, there really is one more angel in heaven."

Emma announced on her blog two weeks ago that her cancer was terminal.

This prompted a successful campaign from fans that saw her latest book, 'Letters To My Daughters', reach the number one spot in Ireland.

Dubray Books said it was donating its profits on the book to the Irish Cancer Society.

Emma also raised over €100,000 for Breast Cancer Ireland (BCI), for which she was an ambassador.

People can donate to BCI by texting CURE to 50300.

Irish Independent

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