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Pupils' shock as Rebecca (17) found dead in bed by mum

A Leaving Cert student who died suddenly in her sleep was found by her mum who went to wake her for school.

Rebecca O'Brien, a beautiful and popular 17-year-old from Drogheda, had been sitting her mock exams the day before her death.

The teenager had been full of life and "bubbly" before the tragic discovery by her mum Eilish.

Rebecca's school friends at St Oliver's Community College Drogheda are badly shocked and it is understood that school counselling services were made available to help pupils when they heard of the tragedy.

Rebecca's father is well-known taxi driver Tony, who owns Tony's Cabs in Drogheda town centre.

One local said: "They're [Rebecca's parents] still in total shock, I'm not sure how they'll get back to normal. It's awful.

"She was a lovely, bubbly girl and she was very popular."

The teenager was buried in her graduation dress, which she had planned to wear to her mother's upcoming birthday.

Her devastated friends have set up a bebo site 'RIP Rebecca O'Brien' which has received over 2,350 hits.

Friends are leaving messages of support for her family. One said: "Watch over your mam. From working with her it was obvious you were her world."

"Look over everyone through this hard time," another added.

Locals have been left reeling after Sudden Adult Death syndrome appeared to have hit the town again.

Soccer player Michael Mackey died in similar circumstances last July.

Now young Leaving Cert students in St Oliver's have to come to terms with Rebecca's loss in the midst of their studies.

"They're absolutely devastated.

"It's so sudden, desperate, we just all have to appreciate each other more," said a local.

"It's strange the way it happens. It's so sad. My own daughter is only 17 and she was in her primary school class, they always kept in touch," another said.

The funeral Mass for Rebecca was held on Monday and crowds poured into the Holy Family church in Drogheda, where schoolchildren formed a guard of honour.

Rebecca was described as being full of life before her untimely passing.

"She was in great form, and there was nothing unusual happening before she died," a local said.