Warm tributes have been paid to Hugh Cooney, former chairman of Enterprise Ireland, who passed away this week after a lengthy battle with cancer.
The Offaly man, who two years ago was diagnosed with stage four cancer of the colon, was widely praised for his recent appearance on the Late Late Show where he sought to highlight the importance of early cancer detection.
At the time, the 63-year-old said men in particular need to pay more attention to their bodies and need to be more willing to go to the doctor with health concerns, no matter how insignificant they may seem.
"In hindsight I made a couple of errors. Before I was diagnosed I recall two occasions where I passed blood. I didn’t listen to my body. Typical man - too busy, macho, infallible. Woke up the next morning, no problem, ignored it. But that was the body telling me something,” he said.
“I’ll say to adults, and in particular men, listen to your body. Learn from mistakes I made. Just do it - go for regular check-ups, be honest when you’re preparing questionnaires for doctors. No shortcuts.”
A few weeks ago, Mr Cooney was told he did not have long left to live, which is why he decided to appear on the Late Late Show.
“I want to increase the awareness of cancer and I want to stress the importance of early detection and prevention. Don’t ignore the early warning signs,” he said.
“I’m ready. I’m ready to die. I have great memories. As a result I’m at peace with myself.”
Mr Cooney passed away peacefully at his Dublin home on Monday, surrounded by family.
Various prominent members of both current and past Governments have since paid tribute to Mr Cooney while Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy praised Mr Cooney for his bravery, especially in his final weeks.
Minister Richard Bruton said his loss will be deeply felt.
“Hugh was a cheerful and resourceful man in life who brought these very same qualities to his battle with cancer,” said the Minister.
“He was determined to understand the challenge and give insight to others. I greatly admired him for his courage. His loss will be deeply felt by all those who had the privilege of knowing him.”
Mr Cooney is survived by his wife Nuala and their five children. His funeral will take place today at 11am at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Foxrock, Co Dublin.
Before his death, Mr Cooney and his family were fundraising in an effort to secure a permanent psychologist for St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.
To find out more, search for Hugh Cooney Fundraiser on Facebook.
If you have a query or concern about cancer, call the Irish Cancer Society on 1800 200 700 or go to www.cancer.ie.
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