Belfast Telegraph

McGuigan's heartbreak as daughter dies aged 33

Danika McGuigan with her dad Barry
Danika McGuigan with her dad Barry
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

The McGuigan family have told of their heartbreak following the death of their daughter Danika after a short battle with cancer.

Danika McGuigan, who was an actress, died aged 33 on Tuesday.

She was also known as ‘Nika’ and was the only daughter of Irish boxing champion Barry and his wife Sandra, who also have three sons — Shane, Jake and Blane.

The McGuigan family said they were devastated by Danika’s death “after a brief but brave battle against cancer”.

“It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of our beautiful daughter and sister, Danika ‘Nika’ McGuigan,” they said.

“After a brief but brave battle against cancer, Nika passed away peacefully in the early hours of Tuesday 23rd July, surrounded by her loving family.

“As a family we are devastated and ask for complete privacy during this difficult period to allow us to grieve for our Nika.”

Danika was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was 11.

After two years of treatment she recovered and returned to school before pursuing her acting career.

Following Danika’s illness Barry became a patron of Cancer and Leukaemia in Childhood and took part in many charity fundraising events.

Danika’s brother Shane paid an emotional tribute to her on Instagram.

“It breaks my heart to write this. My beautiful sister Danika lost her battle with cancer in the early hours of Tuesday morning, at the young age of 33,” he wrote.

“She overcame it once with a two-year fight when she was 11 to 13. Myself, my brothers and parents were privileged to have another 20 years since the first battle with our amazing Nika.

“Unfortunately Nika couldn’t beat it again but she fought so bravely until the end.

“I have memories that I’ll cherish for a lifetime and you will live on forever in spirit. I’m so so proud of you! Love you forever my older ‘little’ sister. RIP.”

During her career as an actress Ms McGuigan appeared in a number of film and TV productions.

She featured in RTE series Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope and starred alongside Rooney Mara in the film adaption of Sebastian Barry novel The Secret Scripture.

Danika was represented by Dublin-based firm The Agency, which also paid tribute to her yesterday.

“Nika was an incredible and versatile talent who lit up our screens with her undeniable presence, sensitivity and superb comic timing,” they wrote on Twitter. “We will miss her very much and our thoughts are with her friends and family at this difficult time.”

Writer of Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope Stefanie Preissner said Danika was a talented actress.

“Shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the untimely passing of Nika McGuigan — the brilliant, lovely, Danielle in Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope wouldn’t have been the same without her,” she wrote on Twitter.

Belfast boxer Carl Frampton also paid tribute, saying he was “sincerely saddened to hear the heartbreaking news about Nika McGuigan”.

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