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Damian Casey: Tyrone GAA star’s remains due to return home from Spain on Thursday

The remains of the late Tyrone GAA star Damian Casey are set to return home on Thursday,

The prolific hurler (28) died suddenly last Friday at a hotel in Spain, where he was due to be groomsman at a wedding.

The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, a charity which helps families across the island of Ireland bring back their loved ones’ remains from other countries, is assisting the family in making arrangements. 

Described as Tyrone’s 'greatest ever hurler’, an outpouring of grief has ensued for Mr Casey over the last week. 

On Sunday, a vigil was held in his hometown of Dungannon by his hurling club, Eoghan Ruadh. 

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Attendees were asked to all wear GAA jerseys and a statement from the Casey family was read out.

They said: “Our family has been hit with the worst news imaginable, and our hearts are broken.

“Words cannot express how devastating news of Damian’s death has been.

“We thank everyone for the support we are receiving from the local community and across the country.

“We ask that everyone avoids idle speculation and that we as a family are given time and space to process what has happened.”

A flag at the club grounds was flown at half mast.

Items commemorating Mr Casey’s life were placed on a table, including a hurling stick, Tyrone jersey and photographs.

Mr Casey scored 14 points for Tyrone in last month's Nicky Rackard Cup victory over Roscommon at Croke Park.

Since he came into the senior county set-up a decade ago, the full-forward has started in over 100 games for the Red Hands, tallying over 1,000 points in total over the course of his Tyrone career in the league and Championship.

His inter-county hurling manager Michael McShane tweeted poignantly: “On earth you were a star both as a hurler and a gentleman. May your star shine brightly in heaven. Rest In Peace mo chara. You will be sorely missed”.

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster on Monday, his Dungannon hurling club chairman, Tony Donnelly said that “Damian Casey would’ve been justified for walking with his head in the clouds for everything that he has achieved, but he was the most humble lad that I know”.

“If you had to write a list of your five favourite people, even before all of this happened, Damian would have been at the top of that list. I was speaking to a couple of people over the last week before this tragedy happened, and Damian was the topic of conversation.

“I know people say this, when people pass away, and you’re thinking ‘this is just more of the same’, but I wish your listeners could actually have met this guy because he was special. He was an icon of our club and we really will miss him very much.”

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