The late Johnny Aylward (59) had captured the hearts of the nation on the hit RTE show DIY SOS The Big Build
RTE presenter Baz Ashmawy has led tributes for Rosbercon man Johnny Aylward who lost his battle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) on Monday, March 13, aged 59.
Johnny, shot to fame on RTE programme DIY SOS The Big Build Ireland, which is fronted by Ashmawy, after the local community in New Ross and south Kilkenny, along with tradespeople from across Ireland – banded together to build a dream home for him in Shanbough in 13 days.
In a poignant tribute to the late Johnny who had captured the hearts of the nation when the show was broadcast last April the team at DIY SOS posted this heartfelt tribute on its Facebook page.
“Baz Ashmawy, the entire DIYSOS build, design, production teams and TV crew; the wide community of DIYSOS volunteers and suppliers and Anne and Jamie at Motive TV are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Johnny Aylward.
“Johnny was at the centre of our New Ross episode, which broadcast on RTE. Johnny was a strong advocate for families impacted by Motor Neuron Disease and fought a bleak prognosis with dignity, humour and courage.
Our thoughts are with his heartbroken family: his wife Lynn, mother Minnie, children Kelly, Aaron, Colin. Cian, Aaron, Daire, Mikey, Grandson Fionn, son-in-law David, Aoife, brothers, sisters, extended family, neighbours and friends. Warm memories of Johnny, late of beautiful Shanbough, Co Kilkenny, will be forever in our hearts. Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dilis.”
Johnny died surrounded by his wife Lynn and family at his home, Teach Solais. He will be laid to rest on Thursday following his funeral Mass at The Church of The Assumption Rosbercon at 12 noon.
Johnny’s good friend Sean Connick recalled a man who was incredible in how he coped with his illness. He said Teach Solais gave Johnny so much peace and serenity in the final months of his life.
"He was thrilled and overwhelmed by all of the support. He loved having his children and grandson Fionn visit him.”
Johnny performed along Sean and other lifelong friends with the band The Nomads.
"He played with us in January at the rugby club in New Ross. It was fantastic to see him there and that he was able to sing. That was the last time.”
Mr Connick said Johnny will be a huge loss to everyone who knew him and to his family and friends, in particular.
“He was incredible in how he coped. I don’t know how he did it. Lynn was amazing in the way she looked after him. His journey captured people’s imaginations and inspired many.”
Cllr Anthony Connick recalled a one-of-a-kind man, some one who had a generous spirit, was larger than life and who loved performing for people.
Johnny is survived by his heartbroken wife Lynn, mother Minnie, children Kelly, Aaron, Colin, Cian, Aaron (his partner Aoife), Dáire, and Mikey, grandson Fionn, son-in-law David, brothers, sisters, extended family, neighbours and a wide circle of friends. He was predeceased by his father Mikey.
He is reposing in Doyle's Funeral Home The Old Rectory Rosbercon, New Ross from 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15, concluding at 7 p.m.
His funeral is to arrive at The Church of The Assumption Rosbercon, for Requiem Mass at 12 noon on Thursday, March 16, followed by burial afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.
Johnny’s family have requested family flowers only and donations, if desired, to the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association IMNDA.
There will be a donation box in the funeral home and church