Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin has expressed her shock and sadness at the death of Ballinderry Shamrocks gaelic footballer Aaron Devlin.
The 23-year-old GAA star died today after contracting meningitis last week.
The Minister said: “I was deeply shocked to learn of the passing of Aaron. This is a tragedy which will impact across the whole community and I offer my heartfelt condolences to his family, his friends and his colleagues at Ballinderry Shamrocks.
“It is difficult to believe that just last week he was lining out for his beloved Ballinderry and that now he is gone from our midst. The GAA playing fields will be all the poorer without him.”
A family statement read: “Following a characteristically hard-fought battle with a sudden illness, our son, brother and friend Aaron has left us.”
“Thanks Aaron for the laughs, the tears, the smiles, the strength, the pride… for everything.
“This has been an unimaginably tough and dark time for us – and will continue to be.
“The actions, words, prayers, kindness, and support from so many people has genuinely touched us.
“We may never be able to thank everyone for it, but please know that it has helped us realise just what an impact he made on this world in just 23 years. We have gained so much strength and pride from it.
“We now hope that the many memories Aaron has given us will help us through the challenge that we must now face together.”
— Oisin McConville (@OisinMcConville) July 30, 2015
— Clan na Gael CLG (@clannagael1922) July 30, 2015
Sincere condolences go out to the family of @BallinderryGAC player Aaron Devlin on his tragic passing. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam
— Ballymacnab GAA (@Ballymacnab_GAA) July 30, 2015
— Forkhill GAA (@Forkhill_GAA) July 30, 2015
Our Sincere condolences to the entire family circle, friends and club members of BallinderryGAC on the passing of… http://t.co/e0hPZd80a5
— Éire Óg G.A.C. (@eireogcraigavon) July 30, 2015
Sincere condolences to Aaron Devlin’s family, friends & @BallinderryGAC teammates on his tragic passing. Look after each other. RIP.
— Aaron Kernan (@AaronKernan) July 30, 2015
A fine community like Ballinderry will feel this hard. Thoughts with Aaron’s family. Such a sad day.
— Niall McCoy (@McCoyNiall) July 30, 2015
— Ulster GAA (@UlsterGAA) July 30, 2015
Only coming into his prime with best years ahead of him, heartbreaking for family and friends of @Aaron_Devlin to have lost their own legend
— Senan Connell (@SenanConnell) July 30, 2015
Thoughts and prayers are with the family+friends of Aaron Devlin at this difficult time May God give you strength to deal with this tragedy
— Kevin Cassidy (@KCASS7) July 30, 2015
Thoughts and prayers are with friends and family of Aaron Devlin..nobody deserves to be taking away that young..Terrible news! #RIP
— Mark McHugh (@MarkMcHugh1) July 30, 2015
Sympathies to the friends and family of Aaron Devlin and the footballers from @BallinderryGAC
— Joe Diver (@joediverderry) July 30, 2015
— Coalisland Na Fianna (@NaFianna1903) July 30, 2015
Devastating news about Aaron devlin! Thoughts and prayers are with his family, close friends and the whole ballinderry community!
— Peter Carragher (@PeterCarragher) July 30, 2015
Very sad to learn the awful news of the death of Aaron Devlin.My heart & sympathy goes out to the Devlin family,friends & @BallinderryGAC
— Martin McGuinness (@M_McGuinness_SF) July 30, 2015
— caolan mooney (@caolanmooney) July 30, 2015
Ár gcomhbhrón lena chlann agus le Gaeil @BallinderryGAC, ar bhás Aaron Devlin. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasail.
— Newry Shamrocks GAC (@ShamrocksNewry) July 30, 2015
All in Fermanagh GAA send condolences to the entire family circle, friends & club members on the passing of Aaron Devlin RIP #GAAFamily
— Fermanagh GAA (@FermanaghGAA) July 30, 2015
We’re devastated to learn of Aaron’s passing & extend our deepest sympathies/condolence to the entire Devlin family & @BallinderryGAC RIP?⚪️
— Moortown GAC (@MoortownGAC) July 30, 2015
— BallinderryShamrocks (@BallinderryGAC) July 30, 2015