Derry GAA footballer Aaron Devlin passes away after meningitis battle
Ballinderry and Derry player dies after illness
Former Derry GAA footballer Aaron Devlin has died in hospital after contracting meningitis last week.
The 23-year-old fell ill following a club game for Ballinderry Shamrocks and it was subsequently revealed that he was suffering from an aggressive form of meningitis.
"Following a characteristically hard-fought battle with a sudden illness, our son, brother and friend Aaron has left us," said the Devlin family in a statement.
"Thanks Aaron for the laughs, the tears, the smiles, the strength, the pride... for everything."
"This has been an unimaginably tough and dark time for us - and will continue to be.
"The actions, words, prayers, kindness, and support from so many people has genuinely touched us.
"We may never be able to thank everyone for it, but please know that it has helped us realise just what an impact he made on this world in just 23 years. We have gained so much strength and pride from it.
"We now hope that the many memories Aaron has given us will help us through the challenge that we must now face together."
Derry GAA said in a statement: "The Derry GAA community is greatly saddened to learn of the untimely death of Aaron Devlin.
"It is difficult to comprehend the devastation that the Devlin family and the wider community of Ballinderry must be feeling at this time.
"This tragedy will be sorely felt throughout the Derry GAA family, and on behalf of all our players, officials and members, at home and abroad, we wish to extend our heartfelt sympathy to Aaron's mother Carmel, father Eugene, sister Anna, and brothers Ronan and Coilin.
"We also offer all our condolences to the members of Aaron's club, Ballinderry Shamrocks, his local community, his team-mates, and his many friends and colleagues.
"Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal."
Tributes have been pouring in from the GAA community following the devastating news.
SDLP Mid-Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone extended his condolences to Aaron's family and friends.
Mr McGlone said: "Aaron was a kind young man and dedicated athlete cherished by his club, friends and family. For him to pass a few short days after he was on the pitch, playing the game he loved is difficult to comprehend.
"It is always a shock when someone so young is taken from us but to lose a young man of such incredible talent and immeasurable promise is utterly devastating.
"The thoughts and prayers of everyone in Ballinderry are with Aarons family and friends during this very difficult time."