The mother of a man who was killed in an unprovoked attack in 2018 has died suddenly after being left heartbroken at the length of his killer's prison sentence.
Marie Magee (57) from Seaforde, Co Down, died of a suspected heart attack at Downe Hospital in Downpatrick on Saturday, The Irish News reported.
Her daughters Francine and Stacey Fox told the newspaper she never recovered from the brutal killing of her son Padraig Fox.
Mrs Magee had given an emotional interview from her hospital bed last month calling for tougher sentences to be imposed when someone loses their life.
Padraig (29), described as a vulnerable man, was killed with an "unprovoked and unexpected blow" following a drink and drug binge in December 2018.
He was killed in the kitchen of his neighbour's flat after being punched by Donach Rice.
Rice (22), from Kilkeel Road in Annalong, was sentenced to three years in prison after admitting the manslaughter of Padraig in January.
The court heard that Rice displayed a "shocking indifference" to the plight of Padraig in the aftermath of the killing.
Mr Justice Colton said that after administering the fatal Blow, Rice created a "false self-defence scenario" then cashed in a betting slip for £7.60 which belonged to the deceased.
Mrs Magee's daughter Francine Fox said: "She died when they took Padraig, when they took her baby. She may have still been here in body, but she wasn't herself any more. She didn't have any fire in her. Her heart unfortunately just gave up.
"That is one comfort to us. We know she's with her son, with her baby where she wanted to be. That is the only comfort we can take.
"We are all devastated. We are just over my brother's first anniversary and it's all taking its toll."
Mrs Magee was being treated for the lung disease COPD, but was able to be discharged from hospital for three weeks around the Christmas period to spend time with family.
"We called round to her. I think she was trying to put on a brave face for the grandchildren. They're what she held on for. I have four children with special needs and having to try to break the news to them in a way that they understand is so hard," Francine added.
"My eldest daughter is completely broken. She was very close to her Nanny and would have gone on holiday with her. During the summer she was with her so much I would be ringing up to say `Can I have my daughter back?'"
Marie was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following her son's killing and had been moved into a mental health inpatient unit. Her family say that she had been "much brighter" and had expected to be discharged to attend a granddaughter's first communion when she passed away.
Mrs Magee's funeral mass will take place at St McCartan's Church in Loughinisland at 10am on Wednesday, with burial afterward in the adjoining cemetery.