Belfast Telegraph

Tributes paid to 'brilliant, lovely' actress Danika McGuigan following death from cancer aged 33

Danika McGuigan.
Danika McGuigan.
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

The daughter of legendary Irish boxer Barry McGuigan has passed away after a short battle with cancer.

Danika McGuigan, who worked as an actress, died at the age of 33 on Tuesday.

She was also known as 'Nika' and was the only daughter of former Featherweight World Champion McGuigan and his wife Sandra.

The couple have three sons, Shane, Jake and Blain.

In a statement 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," the statement read.

"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 acute lymphoid leukaemia when she was 11-years-old.

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

Barry McGuigan with a young Danika.
Barry McGuigan with a young Danika.

Following Danika's illness Barry became a patron of Cancer and Leukaemia in Childhood (CLIC) 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 2 year fight when she was 11 to 13. Myself, my brothers & 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 & you will live on forever in spirit.

"I’m so so proud of you! Love you forever my older ‘little’ sister. RIP."

Barry with wife Sandra, sons Shane and Jake and daughter Danika
Barry with wife Sandra, sons Shane and Jake and daughter Danika

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

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

Danika was represented by Dublin based firm The Agency who also paid tribute.

"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.

"Deepest condolences to her family and loved ones."

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