President Michael D Higgins has personally extended sympathy to the widow of footballer Mark Farren after his death from cancer aged 33.
The Derry City FC star, the club’s record goalscorer and League of Ireland Player of the Year in 2005, will be buried on Friday, seven years after first being diagnosed with a brain tumour.
He is to be laid to rest beside his three children, triplets Terri, Marlie and Millie, who died soon after their premature birth in 2014.
It is understood President Higgins wrote to Farren’s widow Terri-Louise to express his personal condolences and highlight the great contribution her husband had made to the world of sport.
In a statement on the footballer’s death, the President said it was appropriate so many tributes have been made to the late striker.
“They have come from all of those who have known of his great footballing career as an iconic star for Derry City FC,” he said.
“His colleagues have correctly pointed to his great strength of character and his generosity as a colleague and club member.
“Those of us who attended the League of Ireland and had the pleasure of seeing his many appearances will recall his great skills and sportsmanship.
“They will be joined by the public in general in admiring his courageous battle against incredible odds and they will want to send their sympathy and solidarity to his wife and partner, Terri Louise Farren.”
Farren’s funeral takes place in St Mary’s Church, Ballybrack, near where he lived in Moville Co Donegal.
A book of condolences was open in the Brandywell while Farren’s No 18 shirt has been retired by the club as a mark of respect for the esteem he was held in.
Among others to have expressed sympathy were Gary Lineker, Irish international James McClean and John Delaney, chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland.
Diagnosed in late 2008, Farren took a year out of the game for treatment and returned to be crowned the club’s record goalscorer in 2012.
He was forced to hang up his boots in 2014 before being diagnosed with a grade-four brain tumour in 2015 which led to a rapid deterioration in his condition.
Despite tens of thousands being raised, mostly by Airtricity League clubs and collections in Donegal and Derry, radical treatment only available in Mexico was not enough to treat the tumours.