Desperate attempts were made by Mass-goers yesterday morning to save a Co Tyrone farmer who is believed to have had a heart attack while at the wheel of his tractor.
The 74-year-old, named locally as John Coyle, may have suffered a heart attack before his tractor veered off the road and into a field close to his home on the Fingrean Road, outside Omagh.
He died a short time later.
Locals returning from Mass in the small village of Loughmacrory tried in vain to revive the popular father-of-two.
Anne Marie Fitzgerald, vice-chair of Omagh District Council, lives just over a mile away from Mr Coyle’s home.
She said the local community had been stunned by the death of one of its best known characters.
“The Coyle family are very respected in the area and you would often see John in the shop first thing in the morning,” she said.
“He told great stories when you met him and was a lovely man.
“The whole community has been devastated by this.
“Any death is traumatic for a family, but to come so suddenly and in the run-up to Christmas compounds that.
“My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time.”
A post-mortem will be carried out on Mr Coyle to determine the cause of his death.