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Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery attends Cork funeral of 'wonderful' Irish fiance John Dineen

By Staff Reporter

Published 16/12/2015

Michelle Dockery and John Dineen at the US Open tennis championship in 2013
Michelle Dockery and John Dineen at the US Open tennis championship in 2013
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary in Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery has attended the funeral of her Irish fiancé John Dineen, her "wonderful man from Ireland".

The Golden Globe-winning actress was engaged to public relations director John, who died on Sunday morning in a hospice in Ireland after a long illness.

His family held a private funeral mass today at St James in Ballinora, Co Cork.

The 34-year-old, originally from Waterfall near Cork city, had been working with the FTI Consulting firm in London.

Ms Dockery, who turned 34 yesterday, is understood to have cut short a promotional tour in the US for Downton Abbey to be at her fiancé's side during his final days.

Mr Dineen was being cared for at the Marymount Hospice in Co Cork when he passed away on Sunday, surrounded by his fiancée and parents.

Michelle flew to Ireland last week to be by his side during his last days. She is said to have "gone to great lengths to support the family as much as possible".

The family's parish priest, Fr Declan Mansfield, said prayers were said in the local church for Mr Dineen's family, who he said have been shrouded in "deep loss".

In a brief statement the family appealed for privacy as they made the final preparations for a private funeral service in Co Cork today.

"The family is very grateful for the support and kindness they have received but would kindly request that they are left to grieve in private," a spokeswoman for the actress said.

Loving couple: actress Michelle Dockery with her fiance John Dineen
Loving couple: actress Michelle Dockery with her fiance John Dineen
Loving couple: actress Michelle Dockery with her fiance John Dineen
Loving couple: actress Michelle Dockery with her fiance John Dineen
Tragic loss: Kelly Anne McKinley and her husband Patrick
Happy family: Paul Watson with late wife Ali and sons
Family ties: Paul Watson with his children Mark and Euan
New happiness: Paul with wife Mandy and son Jacob

The couple are thought to have started dating in September 2013 after being introduced by Irish actor Allen Leech, who stars alongside Dockery in the ITV period drama.

News of their relationship hit the headlines earlier this year when it was reported that Michelle had been excitedly showing off her diamond ring during screen tests for the popular period drama.

Dockery, who played Lady Mary Crawley in the hit TV series, was taking part in a promotional tour for the show as her partner's health began to decline, and she put on a professional veneer during appearances on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert last Wednesday and Watch What Happens Live on Thursday.

Sitting alongside Mr Leech on both occasions, she performed a Downton script in an American accent on The Late Show and joked about how the Duchess of Cambridge smells "like roses" with Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen.

The couple guarded their privacy closely, with the actress only briefly referring to the love of her life in an interview she gave over a year ago.

She said: "I have a wonderful man in my life from Ireland. We were introduced by Allen Leech. That's all you need to know."

She also praised Mr Dineen in a recent magazine interview by commenting: "I've got people around me who I can turn to for advice: my mum, and my partner John."

Raised on a farm, where his parents Patrick and Marie still live, Mr Dineen had been working as a senior director in FTI Consulting in London when he was diagnosed with cancer.

He returned home to Ireland to spend time with his family and receive treatment at Marymount Hospice in Cork.

It is believed he also travelled to a hospital in Germany to undergo pioneering treatment after his diagnosis.

The PR company yesterday paid tribute to him. Head of strategic communications John Waples said colleagues were deeply saddened by his death.

"John was an immensely valued colleague and friend and will be sorely missed," he added.

"Our thoughts are with his fiancée Michelle, his family and friends, as well as our colleagues who were closest to him, and we ask for privacy for his family at this difficult time."

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