The mother of schoolboy Noah Donohoe has said she “always told him that he would change the world”, his family has said.
A body believed to be that of the missing teenager was found in a storm drain in Belfast on Saturday.
The Donohoe family in a statement on Sunday expressed their “heartfelt gratitude for the support, outpouring of love, and empathy” they received in the past few days.
“From walking with us, both physically and spiritually, to feeling our pain, we recognise that everyone has lost Noah,” said the family.
“Noah’s mummy always told him that he would change the world,” they said.
The family said that details of the funeral would be announced soon.
“Noah loved his school and his friends at school, and we know that they will be grieving too and they need to say goodbye too,” they said.
A vigil was held on Sunday where prayers were said for Noah and his family members. A total of 14 blue balloons were released in his memory.
A vigil was also held in Strabane, Co Tyrone, where the Donohoe family are originally from. One of Noah’s favourite song’s, Forever Young by Rod Stewart, was played.
Paul McBride, the principal of Saint Malachy’s College where Noah went to school, said the whole school mourned his loss.
He said the school was “deeply saddened” by the death of Noah who he described as a “natural leader” with a “caring nature, calm demeanour and big smile”.
Members of the search and rescue team who worked to help find Noah gathered outside the gates of St Malachy’s in Belfast on Sunday evening to pay tribute to him.
​In a statement posted on the school website, Mr McBride said: “The whole college family mourns the tragic loss of our young Malachian, Noah Donohoe.
The whole College family mourns the tragic loss of our young Malachian, Noah Donohoe.— St Malachy's College (@St_Malachys) June 28, 2020
Noah embraced fully all aspects of school life. He was an active and prominent member of the Music Department, and as a… https://t.co/M2xjrgPmWh
“Noah embraced fully all aspects of school life. He was an active and prominent member of the Music Department, and as a talented young cellist, Noah was able to enhance the lives of his fellow performers and also many an audience.
“He was a natural leader who led by example. His caring nature, calm demeanour and big smile were some of his great gifts that helped others do their best.
“He was also a keen basketball and rugby player both in and out of school.
“He has been described as the perfect gentleman who was also able to show a genuine competitive spirit on the court.
“One of his teachers and coach said that Noah had a heart of a lion being able to express himself on the pitch, shouting, laughing and having fun with his friends whilst in class he was normally measured and modest.”
On Saturday, police in Belfast said that a body found in north Belfast is believed to be his.
Superintendent Muir Clark said that while an official identification has not been completed, they believe the body is the missing 14-year-old, who has not been seen since last Sunday evening.
Mr Clark appealed to the public to refrain from posting rumours about the teenager online.
“It is disappointing that I again need to call on people circulating a number of rumours about Noah’s disappearance, which are completely without foundation,” he said.
“This type of commentary and rumour is distressing for Noah’s family and is extremely unhelpful.
“An investigation into the circumstances of Noah’s disappearance is still continuing but there is no evidence to suggest foul play.
“If people post distasteful and patently untrue rumours on social media, we will investigate that.”
On Friday, officers found a bag containing the teenager’s laptop, which is being examined by specialist officers.
He also said that shorts and a coat belonging to Noah are still missing.
A huge search operation took place all week to find Noah, who was last seen in areas close to the Shore Road.
Police believe he may have fallen from his bicycle and hurt his head.