Belfast Telegraph

Alli MacDonnell's friends stunned after sudden death of model

Irish model Alli MacDonnell, who has died at the age of 37
Irish model Alli MacDonnell, who has died at the age of 37

By Bairbre Power

Tributes have poured in for Irish model Alli MacDonnell, after her sudden death at home in Dublin.

"Alli lived for her four kids, she was a brilliant mum, her kids were her world," recalled John Compton, a close friend of the 37-year-old model and her former agent.

Mr Compton, who last spoke to the model on Sunday, said the Dubliner was "very involved with autism because both of her two youngest children were on the spectrum and she was very passionate about that subject and to help where she could".

Working as an ambassador for the Irish Autism Action charity, he said she had been in talks about working on a TV project on the topic.

"There was loads going on for her in a positive way. There were a couple of shows in talks with her, one of them was about autism. This is all so sad. Alli had her whole life in front of her, I just can't believe it, she was my best friend," said Mr Compton.

He recalled how the two met when Alli "walked into the agency years ago and asked 'can I join?' and I said 'yes, you are stunning'. Alli was such a great model, always reliable and even when I closed the agency, we stayed friends. In fact, we became even better friends because there wasn't the work element involved.

"There's a gang of our friends here in my house today, we all want to be together. We are having our own little wake because we can't believe that she's gone."

A regular face on Virgin Media One TV show Ireland AM, where she modelled in fashion slots, Alli was mum to Sienna (two) Harry (nine) and had two teenage children.

Valerie Roe, who runs a PR and events agency, recalled working with Alli. "She was a single mum, life was hard but she lived for her kids, that was my abiding memory," she said.

Stylist Roxanne Parker shared the same birthday as the model and worked with her on RTE's Afternoon Show.

Alli McDonnell.
Alli McDonnell.

She recalled the beautiful woman with the dark eyes and sallow skin whose conversations were always peppered with references to her kids.

"Alli was such a pleasure to work with. You could always rely on her to do a great job. My heart goes out to her family and children," she said.

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