Carl Frampton devastated as grandad dies days before 96th birthday
Carl Frampton has spoken of his devastation at the death of his grandfather Jimmy McWilliams, who passed away this week.
Mr McWilliams, who travelled the world over to see his grandson fight his way to global fame and the IBF super bantamweight belt, died just a few days before his 96th birthday.
The boxer shared his grief in a series of tweets yesterday.
The Tiger's Bay fighter wrote: "My granda would have been 96 on Tuesday but sadly passed away last night. He's at peace now. No more suffering. RIP".
Frampton said that his grandfather had travelled huge distances to see him fight - and still popped a tenner into a card for him at Christmas.
Friends and fans sent a welter of online condolences to the Northern Irish world champion.
Craig McVeigh wrote: "Sorry for your loss Carl. He will be watching down on you Feb 27th thinking, 'What a grandson I have'. He will be proud."
And Eoin Casey added: "RealCFrampton Sorry to hear that Carl. 96 is incredible. Seems you're not the only fighter in the family."
NI Hospice also expressed sympathy at the boxer's loss, writing: "@RealCFrampton all your fans @NIHospice have you, Jimmy #RIP and the family in our thoughts and prayers @nichildrenshosp."
Frampton's manager, the former WBA featherweight world champion Barry McGuigan, paid further tribute to Mr McWilliams.
"Although I didn't know Jimmy very well - he was already quite old and frail when I met him - he had great spirit," he said. "Carl's uncle Bobby used to bring Jimmy to all the fights. He wanted to be there - he absolutely loved it.
"It's a sad time for the family and my sympathy goes out to them. They are very much in my thoughts and prayers tonight."
Both of Carl Frampton's grandfathers, Hugh Frampton - who died in 2014 - and Jimmy McWilliams, were reputed to have been formidable fighters in their youth.
IBF super bantamweight champion Frampton's next big bout is slated for next month, when the Tigers Bay man will take on WBA super bantamweight champion Scott Quigg in a world title unification clash in Manchester on February 27.
Tickets for the massive fight sold out in minutes when they went on sale back in November 2015.