herald

Tuesday 19 June 2018

'She was my guiding star' - writer Emma's heartbroken husband

Emma Hannigan died on Saturday after an 11-year cancer fight.
Emma Hannigan died on Saturday after an 11-year cancer fight.

Emma Hannigan's husband Cian has paid tribute to the best-selling author who died on Saturday after an 11-year battle with breast cancer.

Cian, who was married to Emma (45) for more than 20 years, took to her Facebook page to express his love for her.

"Today, my Emma found peace," he wrote. "She bravely fought a battle against a foe with no mercy.

"Emma was the epitome of strength, love and generosity, beyond anything I have ever known.

"She loved her family, loved her friends, and she left a trail of glitter and joy throughout her life… with, of course, added tinsel at Christmas.

"She was my wife and soulmate. Mother of my beautiful children, a friend to many and an inspiration to thousands. A loving daughter. Devoted mother.

"She was my guiding star and my hug to say everything would be OK.

"But mostly, she was just my Emma, and I would need her wonderful gift with words to tell you just how much I will miss her."

Emma, the mum of son Sacha (17) and daughter Kim (15), had battled the disease 10 times.

Surgery

In 2005, she discovered she was carrying the BRCA1 cancer gene, which meant an 85pc chance of developing breast cancer and a 50pc chance of ovarian cancer.

To reduce her risk to 5pc, Emma had surgery to remove her breasts, ovaries and fallopian tubes. However, she was diagnosed with cancer in 2007, and began her 11-year battle with the disease.

Emma's funeral service will take place in the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Foxrock on Wednesday, followed by a burial in Shan- ganagh Cemetery in Shankill.

Tributes poured in for the author shortly after the news of her death.

"It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of Emma Hannigan - a campaigner to the end," said President Michael D Higgins.

"Emma Hannigan leaves a lasting legacy not only through her work as a much-appreciated author, but also through her exemplary courage in dealing with terminal illness.

"She will be remembered as a powerful advocate for Breast Cancer Ireland, a great cause worthy of our support."

Businesswoman and TV personality Norah Casey said: "A wonderful courageous woman just left our world - my heartfelt condolences to her wonderful family."

Fair City actress and fellow author Claudia Carroll said: "Heartbroken to hear the sad news about our beautiful, brave Emma Hannigan. Tonight, there really is one more angel in heaven."

Breast Cancer Ireland, of which Emma was an ambassador, tweeted: "BCI wish to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of our dear friend Emma Hannigan who lost her battle with cancer earlier today. RIP."

Emma revealed two weeks ago on her blog that her cancer was terminal.

This prompted a successful campaign from fans that saw her book Letters To My Daughters reach the top spot in Ireland.

She helped to raise more than €100,000 for BCI in the weeks before her death.

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