Gaenor has left a void in our family that'll never be filled... but we still don't know how she died
The devastated family of a Bangor schoolgirl who died suddenly at the weekend say her death has left a void in their lives that will never be filled.
They say they now have an anxious wait to determine exactly how teenager Gaenor Thompson died.
The 16-year-old's sudden death remains unexplained and her family say they may have to wait for several months for a Coroner's Court to find out what happened.
They added that, at the moment, there was no link between her death and legal highs.
"Gaenor was the eldest child of four and was much loved, not only by us and her siblings, but a much wider close family. She was a loyal best friend and loving girlfriend," her family said in a statement.
They added: "Her untimely death has caused a void in our family that will never be filled. Gaenor was in her last year of secondary school and had just completed the bulk of her GCSEs with her whole life ahead of her.
"Gaenor was a larger than life character who loved life and lived for the moment."
The popular teenager's death shocked the community and dozens of tributes have been paid to her on social media.
Heartbroken friends have set up a Facebook page in her memory so that people can pay tribute to her.
One friend wrote: "We all miss you Gaenor. She'll be looking down on everyone and reminding you every day how much each one of you meant to her. Rest in peace."
Another friend said: "Can't believe you are gone. You'll never be forgotten beautiful... another angel taken too soon."
Gaenor, who was a pupil at Bangor Academy, was an acquaintance of Co Down teenager Adam Owen, whose death in April was blamed by his parents on legal highs.
"We understand the circumstances around Gaenor's death will be of interest to the wider community, particularly given the recent death of Adam Owens who was one of many of Gaenor's acquaintances," Gaenor's family said.
They added: "Whilst the exact circumstances and subsequent cause of Gaenor's death will remain inconclusive until the coroner has completed his inquest, which may take several months, the family would like to stress that at this moment there is no correlation between Gaenor's death and the use of legal highs."
The family said they were grateful for all the support they had received.
"We would like to pass on our sincere gratitude to all who have taken the time to express their kind words of support and love, in particular the support from Bangor Academy has been of great comfort," they said.
Gaenor's school principal Matthew Pitt described the young girl's death as a "tragic loss to the family and the entire school community".
He said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends." The school has offered advice and support to students or staff affected by the teenager's death.
DUP councillor Wesley Irvine said everyone in the area was shocked and saddened by the news. Ulster Unionist councillor Carl McClean added: "It is horrific."
Independent councillor Noelle Robinson said: "It is terrible, so tragic, very sad."
Gaenor's death was the second tragedy to hit Bangor inside a few days. It followed the death of five-year-old Katie Grace Bogle, who was knocked down last Thursday.