Belfast Telegraph

Warm tributes paid at funeral of 'talented and caring' Philip Hagan who died in Philadelphia

By Cate McCurry

A 25-year-old Co Armagh man found dead weeks before he was due home for Christmas has left a hole in his family's life that will "never be filled", his funeral has heard.

Tynan man Philip Hagan should have been spending this weekend with his parents and brother after returning from the US, however his heartbroken family instead had to say their final goodbye to the popular and talented musician.

Hundreds attended the funeral of the deputy head boy at Royal School Dungannon almost two weeks after he was found dead by emergency services at his flat in Philadelphia's Marine Club Condominiums.

He had been living in Philadelphia for the last two years, where he had been working as an actuary for Cigna Health Care.

Family and friends packed St Andrew's Church in Killyman - the village where Philip grew up with his brother, Jonathan and parents Rev Matthew and Jennifer.

Jonathan told mourners that Philip had recently sat his professional exams and was awaiting the results next month.

Speaking about the moment he found out about his brother's death he said: "When I heard Philip had died my legs were shaking, my ears were ringing. I didn't know what to say, I didn't know what to think, I didn't know what to do. After the longest drive of my life I arrived home and when I saw my parents as I walked through the door that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

"Philip, as well as being a brother I am incredibly proud of, was one of my closest friends. We were always extremely close from the start and spent a great childhood together shared with great friends.

"My parents are so proud of Philip and he would be the first to say what huge part they both played in who he was as a man and the success he enjoyed throughout his life. They are role models for both of us and as well as grieving for the loss of my brother to witness the profound effect of his passing on parents has been equally as devastating.

"Philip would want me to say thank you to my parents for all that they have done for both of us. For all their support, guidance and advice growing up. Philip was wise beyond his years, it was often I who turned to him for advice, guidance and support. First and foremost, Philip was a genuine, modest, caring man. For a man who was extraordinarily talented, he was friendly, personable and quietly unassuming in equal measure. I have no doubt in my mind Philip was one of the most intelligent men I will meet in my lifetime.

"Academically gifted, he was as conscientious and hard-working as they come. People say hard work beats talent, well Philip had ample supply of both. Combined with his calm demeanour and sharp sense of humour it's little surprise he achieved so much in such a short time."

A graduate of actuarial science at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Philip was a former member of Beavers, Cubs and Scouts and was also awarded the Queen's Scouts badge.

After Philip failed to arrive at work two weeks ago, his work colleagues in the US raised the alarm.

A post-mortem examination into his death has not yet revealed the cause.

Jonathan described Philip's love of music and his ability to play the guitar.

He added: "He was happiest playing for hours on end, striving to improve despite already being at a level we can only dream of. There can be no higher tributes to Philip and the reaction we have all experienced to his passing, an indescribable loss, a hole in our lives that will never be filled because Philip is irreplaceable."

He went on to thank the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust for helping return his body home.

The Reverend who led the service said Philip had "so much ahead of him".

"He died too young with too many dreams unfulfilled with too many hopes unrealised," he added. "He had already achieved his greatest ambition, he was a great son. His last moments were spent doing what he loved."

Belfast Telegraph

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