The funeral of journalist Aideen Kennedy will be held on Tuesday, following her death at the weekend at the age of 43.
n Friday, Aideen said on Twitter she had been treated in hospital but was now going home to receive palliative care, however she died in hospital on Saturday.
In her final social media post, the journalist – who was perhaps best known from her time at UTV – made a plea for her followers to look out for her children.
“Life has not gone well and I am as sick as I was when I went to the hospital. [I’m] essentially going home to die but getting palliative care. The kids know. If you come across them, will you keep an eye out for them? They are the kindest, sweetest, most thoughtful kiddies, “she said.
It was announced on Saturday she had passed away.
Journalist Claire Savage got her first met Aideen when they both took part in the Washington Ireland Program 20 years ago.
“I’ll always remember her as this raven-haired, bright-eyed, vivacious young woman and she impressed me so much I told her she should go for a job at Belfast Citybeat, where I worked with Stephen Nolan,” she told the Belfast Telegraph.
“I was leaving Citybeat at the time. She was already a talented print journalist, but I thought she really had a face for broadcasting. She was warm and kind and a real people person.
“I knew she would be a great broadcaster as she had that natural way with people. Aideen got the Citybeat job and we grew up in the media industry together.
“We met up regularly and followed each other’s careers, and anybody that knew Aideen knew her as such a warm and kind woman.
“Unfortunately she was dealt a lot of bad blows in life. Sadly, when I moved to England we lost contact a bit, but I remember her so fondly, especially when we were in our 20s together in America.
“She was a gifted woman who loved people, and people loved her. I hope her parents can take some comfort in the fact she was loved by so many people. That’s a rare thing in the media industry, but she really was.”
Following the news of Aideen’s death there was an outpouring of grief.
In a statement, a UTV spokesperson offered condolences to her family.
“The UTV family is deeply saddened to hear the passing of former colleague and friend Aideen Kennedy. A truly gifted reporter, she spent many years at UTV bringing viewers stories from all over Northern Ireland, “the spokesperson said.
DUP MLA Emma Little-Pengelly also met Aideen on the Washington Ireland Program. She said she was “absolutely devastated” over the death of her “beautiful, funny, kind friend”.
“I will miss her terribly. We met 22 years ago when we shared a room for the summer in DC and became firm friends. Goodbye beautiful girl, “she said.
A funeral notice for the late journalist reads: “Devoted mother to Jacob and Eva, beloved daughter of Noel and Maura, loving sister of the late Rory, Dara and Fiona (Brady).
“Aideen’s remains will leave O’Kanes Funeral Directors, 116-118 Donegall Street, Belfast at 10.30am for arrival at Good Shepherd Church for Requiem Mass at 11.00am on Tuesday 21st June 2022. Cremation arrangements to follow. House Private.
“Family flowers only, donations in lieu if so desired can be made to RNIB c / o O’Kanes Funeral Directors or online at www.okanesfunerals.co.uk.”
Aideen was one of four siblings, all of whom have now died young. She is survived by her two children, Jacob and Eva, and her parents, Noel and Maura.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph back in 2019, Aideen spoke of how she lost her younger brother Dara from a brain tumor in 2015, and her older sister Fiona to cancer soon after.
“I grew up in Belfast. It was me, my parents – dad was an engineer and mum was a teacher – my sister Fiona and my brother Dara. Both Fiona and Dara have passed away in recent years. Fiona was 44 and Dara was just 35. They were my best friends, “she said.
“I had another brother, Rory, who was killed in a road accident when he was one. We talked about him all the time. Seamus Heaney’s Mid-Term Break reminds me of Rory.
“The line ‘I saw him, for the first time in six weeks. Paler now, wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple’ always stuck with me.
“My mum said Rory looked like an angel and you wouldn’t have known anything had happened apart from the bruise. I remember a teacher reading that poem out. It immediately made me think of him.
“My mum Maura and dad Noel are the strongest and loveliest people I know. With my mum being a teacher and my dad originally from Argentina, the nature of our family has always had the kids at the forefront.
“We are very people-oriented as a family. We were a very close family and we did a lot together. ”
She also paid tribute to her parents in the same interview.
“They have been through so much, having lost three of their children, but they refuse to let life overtake them,” she said.
“They are funny, loving and supportive and enjoy everything life has to offer. They’re champion bridge players. While I don’t massively approve of them playing bridge all around the world because my nerves are shot when they are gallivanting, I admire their attitude to life. ”