Declan Donnelly's priest brother Dermott died aged 55 of suspected brain bleed as star pays tribute | The Sun
DECLAN Donnelly's priest brother, 55, died of a suspected bleed to the brain – with the star telling of his "devastation".
Dec, 46, raced to Father Dermott Donnelly's bedside after he collapsed.
And he was beside Fr Dermott in his final hours before his death yesterday afternoon.
He later tweeted: “I am heartbroken to tell you that my darling brother Fr Dermott sadly passed away this afternoon.
“We are all beyond devastated.
"Thank you for your messages of sympathy and support, they are appreciated.”
Read more on Father Dermott
Dec pays tribute to ‘darling brother’ after rushing to bedside in hospital
A look at who Declan Donnelly’s brother Dermott was
Father Peter Kyi Maung, 45, who served with Fr Dermott at St Joseph’s Church in Stanley, Co Durham, visited him in hospital.
He said: “He ran the youth village.
"I think that is where he was when he said that he had a headache.
"Later, they found that he had collapsed.
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'Devastated' Dec was ‘at his brother bedside’ when he died tragically aged 55
"Declan had come to be with him and their mum was there as well. I saw her at the hospital.
"It was so hard for her, a mother seeing her dying son.
“When she hugged me, I knew how much she was suffering.”
Sources said Newcastle-born Dec, who now lives in Chiswick, West London, was very close to his older brother.
Fr Dermott had recently celebrated 30 years of being ordained as a priest.
One insider told The Sun: “Dec headed north as soon as he heard that his brother was seriously ill.
TRAGEDY FOR STAR
“He was among 12 family members at his brother’s hospital bedside, as well as priests who knew Fr Dermott well.
“Dec is one of seven kids and they’re all very close but he has a special bond with Dermott.”
The source said hundreds of people had been praying for “much-loved" Dermott, who officiated when Dec married his former manager Ali Astall, 43, in 2015.
Fr Peter added: “Fr Donnelly was a very good, kind priest. I was inspired by him to serve here.
"He was such a good guy.”
Dec, who hosts Saturday Night Takeaway with sidekick Ant McPartlin, 46, once revealed he had considered following Dermott into the priesthood.
I am heartbroken to tell you that my darling brother passed away… we are all beyond devastated
He said: "My brother Dermott trained to be a priest.
"When I was about 14 I did briefly consider following in his footsteps.
"Then, one day, I got the bus home from school and it was full of lasses from the local girls' school, Sacred Heart.
"I knew right there and then that the priesthood wasn't for me."
In April, Fr Dermott was invited by Boris Johnson to join religious leaders at No10 to pray for peace in Ukraine.
He said: “It was a privilege… a moment when the power of vulnerability encountered the vulnerability of power.”
The Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, Bishop Robert Byrne, confirmed Dermott’s death last night.
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He said: “This has come as a great shock to all of us.
"Please pray for the repose of his soul and keep his family in your prayers.”
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