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Mourners gather for K2 climber

Published 17/08/2008

Over two thousand people paid their respects to Gerard McDonnell at a memorial mass this afternoon.

The Limerick man became the first ever Irish man to reach the summit of K2 in Pakistan on the 1st of August last.

The 37 year old was killed in an avalanche just hours later, while descending the world's second highest mountain.

The President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Brian Cowen were represented at the ceremony by their aides-de-comp.

Gerard's achievement in reaching the summit of K2 was represented by a wood carving given by members of his expedition team.

His brother JJ said he would be greatly missed.

"He had a passion for life that made all our lives fuller", he said. "He wanted us all to share in his joy for life but what all of us will miss the most will be his big hugs."

Belfast Telegraph

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