By Sarah Slater
The husband of Emma Hannigan, one of the country’s much-loved authors, paid tribute to his “soul mate” who passed away on Saturday.
Cian, who was married to Emma for two decades, took to his wife’s Facebook page in an outpouring of love for her.
He posted: “Today, my Emma found peace. She bravely fought a battle against a foe with no mercy.
"Emma was the epitome of strength, love and generosity, beyond anything I have ever known.
“She loved her family, loved her friends, and she left a trail of glitter and joy throughout her life… with of course added tinsel at Christmas.
“She was my wife and soul mate. Mother of my beautiful children, A friend to many and an inspiration to thousands. A loving daughter. Devoted mother
“Best selling Author. Fundraiser. Public speaker. Chef. And Shopaholic ……”
He added: “She was my guiding star and my hug to say everything would be ok. But mostly she was just my Emma, and I would need her wonderful gift with words to tell you just how much I will miss her.”
Funeral arrangements are being finalised following the bestselling author’s death in a south Dublin hospital at 1.30pm on Saturday following an 11-year battle with cancer.
The mother of two teenagers slipped away peacefully surrounded by her husband Cian, son Sacha, daughter Kim and her parents.
The Wicklow native revealed she had terminal cancer just over two weeks ago and launched a fundraising campaign for Breast Cancer Ireland, for which she was an ambassador.
The goal of raising €100,000 was reached in 10 days - a sum she vowed to reach for BCI.
Dubray Books also supporting the cause by donating all profits made to the Irish Cancer Society while, bookstore Eason, also said that they would be making donations to BCI.
It is understood that Emma may be buried close to her home in Bray, Co Wicklow, with Fr Gerry Byrne, chaplain at Blackrock Clinic, co-officiating at her funeral Mass.
The author of 13 books had pleaded with the public to keep donating any spare cash to medical research and the goal was reached within two weeks of Emma making the appeal.
As well as being a hugely successful and award-winning author, she was also known as a TV personality and blogger, Emma revealed her devastating cancer diagnosis 17 days ago, confirming that her health battle was coming to an end after 11 years.
Shortly after her passing, Breast Cancer Ireland (BCI) tweeted: “We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to the family of our dear friend Emma Hannigan who lost her battle with cancer earlier today. RIP.”
BCI wish to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of our dear friend Emma Hannigan who lost her battle with cancer earlier today. RIP pic.twitter.com/tlKKR5w2hX— BreastCancerIreland (@BreastCancerIre) March 3, 2018
Majella O’Donnell wife of country singer Daniel, who herself fought breast cancer also tweeted, “So very sad to hear of the passing of Emma Hannigan. She inspired me at a very difficult time and I am thinking of her family and friends tonight.
“She fought such an amazing battle. You have left your mark in this world Emma. Life can be so unfair…”
Former broadcaster, and now political advisor to Tánaiste Simon Conveney, Chris Donoghue added: “So sad at the death of as bright a light. We once spoke of guilt you feel surviving a serious illness when someone like her kept getting knocked back.
“She told me to say it in how you live, not an apology. Extraordinary person, moved mountains.”
Her heart-wrenching Facebook post revealing she was losing her fight to stay alive, saw an outpouring of emotion from thousands of reading fans, and authors from here and around the world.
Her latest book, Letters to My Daughters, went to Number One across several categories on the best selling chart within days of her emotional post.
When revealing her sad news Emma said: “All good things must come to an end. The time that I knew was borrowed must be given back soon, so it seems.
“The conversation I never wanted to have has been said. “My medical team have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at this fight but all avenues have now been exhausted.”
The author, blogger and TV personality, spoke openly about her love for her husband and children, parents family, friends and fans adding that her love for them has been integral to her life.
“Faced with very little time can I tell you what screams out at me? Love.
"Nothing else has much meaning anymore. Just the love I feel for the people I hold dear.
“My two babies, (ok they both tower over me, but I’m still allowed call them my babies) my husband, my parents, my family, my friends and readers.”
In 2005, she discovered that she was carrying the Brca 1 cancer gene. This meant she had an 85% chance of developing breast cancer and a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer.
To reduce her risk to 5%, the brave mum opted for preventative surgery. In 2006 Emma had a double mastectomy and had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed.
However, in 2007, in spite of the surgery, she was diagnosed with cancer for the first time and her lengthy battle ensued.