Monday 18 February 2019

'Sean (15) went down with flu on Wednesday - by Friday he was dead', says heartbroken mum

Sean Hughes (15) was a keen rapper who died two days after visiting doctor
Sean Hughes (15) was a keen rapper who died two days after visiting doctor

A Dublin mother said her heart has been "broken into a million pieces" after the sudden death of her 15-year-old son who had been suffering flu-like symptoms.

Sean Hughes, from Finglas, had only just returned to school after the Christmas break when he took ill on Wednesday. He died early on Friday morning at Temple Street Hospital.

Speaking to the Herald, Sean's mother, Karen, wept as she said: "My heart is broken into a million pieces. I'm going to miss him, really, really terribly. We all will."

The teenager, who had no underlying health complaints according to his mother, deteriorated within just hours after flu-like symptoms took hold.

"I brought Sean to the GP," said Karen. "She said he had flu, but he had a chest infection too.

"Sean started on antibiotics on Wednesday morning. The GP gave it to him as she was afraid he'd get pneumonia.

"But by Thursday evening I was concerned Sean wasn't getting any better even with the antibiotic, so I told his dad Joe I'd be bringing him back to the doctor on Friday because the surgery was shut Thursday night."

Tragically, Karen never made it back to the surgery with her beloved son.

Just days after Sean - a talented rapper nicknamed 'Lil Red' - took ill, his mother is planning his funeral, when a selection of his original tracks will be played.


Karen told how she was so concerned about Sean, and stayed up with him on Thursday night. The teenager could not sleep, so they watched TV together on the sofa.

"We were sitting downstairs watching Netflix at around 11.50pm and Sean was talking to me. Next of all he wasn't talking. I knew straight away there was something wrong," said Karen.

"I called Joe out of bed and he administered CPR on Sean while we waited for the ambulance. Joe did great, then the paramedics came and worked on Sean for a long time. They got him into the hospital at around 12.30am and they were brilliant at Temple Street.

"But Sean died at 6.30am Friday - it was the worst ever - I'll never forget it," said Karen.

Despite Sean's rapid decline and the fact he was suffering flu-like symptoms, the family are still awaiting the official outcome of his death.

"They did the post-mortem and we will find out in due course how Sean died. He didn't have any health conditions, he was a fine, healthy child," said Karen.

"There's no words, it's senseless - he should be with us, he's a 15-year-old child, it's something we'll never get our heads round."

Karen said Sean's symptoms included a chest infection, a runny nose, sleeplessness and when he breathed it sounded "like a crackling."

"When I couldn't hear the crackling, I knew there was something wrong," she said.

Karen said that the family had just spent a wonderful Christmas together, but never thought that it would be their last Christmas together.

"It was really lovely and nice. Sean still has so many presents in his room. He was such a wonderful person."

The Colaiste Eoin pupil was a renowned local rapper who idolised US hip-hop stars, Notorious B.I.G, Tupac Shakur and Eminem.

He regularly performed at the Finglas Youth Resource Centre where his young friends were offered a place to talk about the loss yesterday.

Sean was noted for having huge self-belief and confidence which spurred him to perform in front of large crowds.


Sean had recently been awarded a school scholarship with the Rising Tide initiative which would have helped him secure his dream to entering the world of music.

"Sean was hugely into rap," said Karen. "And he was delighted with the scholarship. He made his own tracks, he was brilliant. We told him how talented he was all the time.

"He was wise beyond his years. Sean wanted to go to music college and produce music. He had his head on his shoulders. Sean knew everyone and he had every respect for man, woman and child."

A pensioner called to see the family after their tragic loss and told Karen how the teenager had offered to carry his bags. Another local woman said: "Sean had a light. We have to remember him for the good things he taught us. He was so confident and happy."

"He was so loveable, Sean was full of life," said Karen.

"He loved his hair, his designer clothes and aftershave and he used to say 'Ma, do I look slick?' I'd say. 'Of course you do, son.'

"He was a character, no matter who he met, he made an impact on them. We are utterly devastated."

"I have a large family, five brothers and mum and dads are 80. Sean was very close to them, he was up to them everyday and he worried about them. No one would ever have seen this, there's no words."

The teenager's funeral will take place on Tuesday at St Canice's Church, Finglas Village.

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