'What a privilege to have known him' - Dermot Bannon pays tribute after tragic death of Room to Improve star Michael Stokes (15)
Young man stole hearts of nation on Room to Improve and Late Late
ARCHITECT Dermot Bannon has paid tribute to an "amazing" teenager who stole the heart of the nation with his appearance on 'Room To Improve' and who has sadly passed away following an accident.
Michael Stokes (15) was the star of the show in 2016, when Bannon redesigned the Malahide home of his foster parents, Ann Higgins and Barry McCabe, in order to make it more wheelchair-friendly.
Michael passed away peacefully on Saturday, his death notice said he died "in the wonderful care of the staff of Temple Street Children's Hospital".
Bannon shared a photo of Michael on his Instagram account today, following the sad news of the teenager's death.
He wrote: "What a privilege to have known this amazing young man."
During the episode of the hit TV show, he famously told Dermot to "go back to the drawing board" with his plans.
Michael - who was wheelchair-bound - regularly visited his foster parents for respite breaks from residential accommodation, and his incredible positive attitude and demeanour struck a chord with viewers.
In a memorable appearance on 'The Late Late Show' earlier this year, Michael told the audience how he first met Ann and Barry.
“I knew Ann because she was my teacher when I was seven years old and then I met Barry at my communion party.”
Barry added: “Ann used to come home and talk about the school, this happened, that happened, invariably Mike was always the centre of it. So I said I have to meet this guy, so we went, met him at his Communion party and we said we’d go out with him the odd time. So it started off we took him out for one day a month, and then it went every two weeks, once a week and before you knew it, it was weekends.”
“At the time, Michael was coming to stay with us once every couple of weeks, and he’d stay for the weekend and literally what we did was we brought a bed downstairs. It was as simple as that.”
“He used to always be pushing, can we do a doubler (Friday and Saturday),” Barry joked.
We are very sad to give Michael Stokes to the angels this weekend. He was a treasure to all who knew him in St.Michaels House.Sincere sympathies to his loving family from our Board, staff and all his friends. pic.twitter.com/RYVxo4zDaA— St.Michael's House (@StMichaelsHouse) May 7, 2018
Devastated to hear of the passing of Michael Stokes. He stole the nations heart when he appeared on #RoomtoImprove. Thoughts and prayers are with his foster parents Ann & Barry, and the rest of his family. #RIPMichael— Joanne Hartnett (@taafferj) May 7, 2018
Life is precious. I’m so sorry to hear of the tragic loss of little Michael Stokes. What a loss. Ann, Barry and Michael were a beautiful family. They were his dream come true. #sleeptightbravewarrior— Aisling McNiffe (@McNiffecent) May 7, 2018
Genuinely saddened by the untimely passing of the gem of the nation Michael Stokes, the real star of #RoomToImprove Thoughts and prayers with the wonderful Anne & Barry, & all those in @TempleStreetHos who cared for him. #RIP #Legend— Róisín Connaughton (@RoisinTheGinger) May 7, 2018
There was a radiant light shining from Michael Stokes the young man who touched the heart of the Nation on room to improve.May he RIP https://t.co/JsnEP241lN— David Brady (@D9BMayo) May 7, 2018
Absolutely devastated our little friend Stokesy has passed away. One of the most special people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Touched so many lives in his short time. #OnlyTheGoodDieYoung #Legend https://t.co/EcFyly6MpN— Damien M Hurley (@MonsieurHurley) May 7, 2018
@DermotBannon So sorry to hear Michael Stokes died. Himself, Ann & Barry were an inspiration & their RTI was your best imo. My condolences to his family & friends. Beautiful soul ❤️— Dorothy (@DorothySgR) May 7, 2018
Condolences to family and friends. The boy with the sharpest sense of humour who stole the nations heart, Room to Improve star Michael Stokes passes away after 'tragic accident' https://t.co/NB661w0uKe #RIPMichael— SNPA (@SpNeedsParents) May 7, 2018
How very sad that Michael Stokes, the ebullient and self-assured young man who featured memorably in #RoomtoImprove has died. My condolences to his foster parents and friends. May he rest in peace and love. https://t.co/bRKcu3f056— Marie Walshe (@lacanlune) May 7, 2018
Desperate news- Michael was one of the funniest and smartest young people I have ever met. Full of joy for life. May he rest in peace :( https://t.co/WCsTaT0wAn— Orla (@7worldscollide) May 7, 2018
RIP Michael Stokes. The true star of #roomtoimprove— Stephen Byrne (@steob) May 7, 2018
Gutted to hear this news 😔
So very sad to hear of the demise of young #MichaelStokes a wonderful happy teenager who stole the hearts of a nation when he appeared with @DermotBannon on #RTEs #RoomToImprove where he showed his wicked humour+always had a big smile. RIP young man. Condolences to #Ann&Barry 😪— Cathy Brady (@CeeBee8) May 7, 2018
RIP Michael Stokes! You were full of life and energy! pic.twitter.com/VPz6dHfS4U— Adam Murphy (@Anonymous_Riter) May 7, 2018
After Dermot Bannon's redesign on the Malahide home, Michael was able to stay there every day, he told Ryan Tubridy.
"I have my own bed, I have my own desk. It's everything, I love everything, everything is at my level," he said.
“It’s brilliant, we couldn’t be happier," Barry explained.
Joking that he missed a Friday night of pizza with friends to appear on the Late Late Show, Michael gave a shout out to his friends just before saying goodbye to Tubridy.
“Hi guys, I hope you’re having a great party.”
Today, Ryan Tubridy was among those paying tribute to the young man.
"The magic whirlwind, Michael Stokes, died on Saturday aged 15," Tubridy wrote on Instagram.
"He was an unforgettable soul and we are all so sad today."
Michael's funeral will take place at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Seabury, Malahide, Co Dublin, tomorrow at 10am.