Broken hearts

Irish TV star Saoírse Ruane has tragically passed away at the age of 12 following a four-year battle with cancer, her family confirmed in a statement.

Her devastated mother, Roseanna, shared the tragic news on Instagram: “When there are no words. After a long, courageous and dignified battle, our hearts are shattered to tell you our beautiful little Saoirse took her final breath in our arms on Tuesday.

“We thank you our lovely followers for holding Saoírse and us in your thoughts these past few weeks. We think of you all today also as we know how much Saoirse was loved by the nation and the effect she had on so many people’s lives. Cancer you stole her from us, the life we had and our dreams. Life will never be the same.”

The Late Late Toy Show star was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 after complaining of an injured ankle. In 2020, Saoírse underwent an amputation of her leg due to a cancerous Osteosarcoma tumor in her tibia, which posed a life-threatening risk.

The President of Ireland paid his respects to Saoírse and tweeted: “President Higgins has sent his deepest condolences to the family of Saoírse Ruane from Kiltullagh, Co. Galway, following her passing at the age of 12. Saoírse’s strength and warmth was an inspiration to all.”

Saoírse had already seen a few of her dreams come true, such as visiting Old Trafford to watch Manchester United play and going on her dream vacation to Disneyland.

In June 2022, Saoírse received a devastating cancer diagnosis for the second time and was forced to undergo surgery to remove a tumor from her lung. The experience of witnessing her daughter battle cancer again was “unimaginable” to her mother. By November 2023, Roseanna revealed that the cancer had spread from one lung to the other.

“Saoírse is the bravest soul we know and her one and only request on hearing this heartbreaking news last night was to put up the Christmas tree. So that’s what we are doing, putting up the decorations ahead of [the] Toy Show,” she explained. “As always we ask you to continue to pray for our brave resilient girl.”

Tributes came pouring in from every corner of the country.

Tanaiste Micheal Martin said, “Very saddened by the death of Saoírse Ruane. I will always remember meeting Saoirse and her mother Roseanna in Croke Park and seeing her beautiful smile and love for GAA.”

Following Saoirse’s appearance on The Toy Show, Ryan Tubridy, who used to host Late Late, became friends with her family. He said that the “world is a poorer place” without her.

“It is with the greatest sadness imaginable that I’ve heard the news of my dear young friend, Saoírse Ruane’s passing.

“We became friends instantly when we met. She told her story, the nation fell in love with her and a charity began because of her and with that she helped enrich and encourage the lives of thousands of children in Ireland.

“A selfless, humble, kind, optimistic and thoughtful child. She was everything we should and could be as a country and her passing will put so much into perspective for so many of us.

“I send my condolences and all the love possible to Roseanna, Ollie and Farrah Rose, a beautiful family whose world has changed utterly.

“I want to thank them for sharing their extraordinary Saoírse with us all.

“The world is a poorer place without Saoírse but I do hope that twinkle in her eye shines on and on.”

Saoírse’s funeral will take place at St Peter and Paul’s Church, Kiltullagh on Sunday at 1.45pm.

May she rest in peace.

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