THE widow of a Laois man who died near the summit of Mt Everest said yesterday her husband had her “unwavering support” in his decision to climb the world’s highest mountain.
In an emotional tribute at his memorial mass, the wife of 41-year-old John Delaney, who died just before reaching the peak of the mountain, said while many might not understand why her husband wanted to climb Mount Everest, he was “truly passionate” about doing it and she supported that.
Orla Delaney, who gave birth to the couple’s third child last week, who she named Hope, said she was “very much aware” of the risks involved in the expedition, as her husband had been.
“He went with my blessing and had my unwavering support in what he was doing.”
Hundreds of people attended Mr Delaney’s memorial mass in Co Laois yesterday, where the congregation included Mr Delaney’s mother, brother and sister, and his sons, Casper and Alexander, aged three and two.
Parish priest Fr Sean Conlon spoke of the mountaineer’s burning passion to reach the summit of Mount Everest, saying Mr Delaney was also an avid marathon runner.
Mr Delaney, who was founder and chief executive of Intrader, lived in Kilcock, Co Kildare, but was originally from Ballinakill, Co Laois.
He was less than 50 metres — about an hour’s climb — from the 8,848m summit when he collapsed.
He was one of a group of 18 and had set off on his expedition early last month.
He is the first Irishman to die on the world’s highest peak and would have been the 19th Irish person to summit since it was first reached by Belfast architect Dawson Stelfox in 1993.
He was described as a competent climber and had made it three-quarters of the way up the mountain five years ago.
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