Popular TV presenter Aidin Kennedy passed away shortly after announcing on social media that she had a terminal illness and asking people to “watch” her children.
A familiar face on UTV news bulletins for years, the 43-year-old woman revealed she was receiving palliative care in a Twitter post Friday morning and died later that night.
In her latest social media post, the popular journalist, who recently ended up in the hospital, made a heartbreaking request to her followers to look after her young children after her death. She said: “Life has failed and I am just as sick as when I was in the hospital. [I’m] essentially return home to die but receive palliative care. Children know. If you run into them, will you keep an eye on them? They are the kindest, sweetest, most caring kids.”
Her former employer UTV issued a statement describing her as a gifted journalist and expressing sympathy for her family.
A spokeswoman said: “The UTV family is deeply saddened by the news of the passing of former colleague and friend Aidin Kennedy. A truly gifted reporter, she has spent many years on UTV telling viewers stories from all over Northern Ireland.”
DUP MLA Emma Little-Pangelly said she was “absolutely devastated” by the death of her beautiful, hilarious, kind friend.” She added, “I will miss her terribly. We met 22 years ago when we shared a room for a summer in DC and became fast friends. Farewell, beauty.”
Alliance Councilor Sian Mulholland tweeted: “My heart is breaking for Aidin’s parents who now have to say goodbye to their four children. Life can be so exceptionally cruel.”
SDLP adviser Simas de Faoit said he was “heartbroken” by the news: “Mom has been babysitting Aidin, Dara and Fiona for years. Eidin was such a bright light that went through so much.”
After Aydin announced her prediction on social media, her friends, followers and former colleagues poured out love and sympathy.
BBC meteorologist Barra Best said: “Very sorry to read this. Life can indeed deal some bitter blows. And of course we’ll keep an eye on them. [Aideen’s children]. I’ll try to make sure they have decent weather.
Eidin was one of four siblings and the fourth to die young. She is survived by her two children Jacob and Eva, as well as her parents Noel and Maura.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph in 2019, she spoke of the tragedies that befell her siblings. She lost her older sister Fiona to cancer in 2016, less than a year after her beloved younger brother Dara died of a brain tumor.
Aidin said: “I grew up in Belfast. It was me, my parents – my father was an engineer, and my mother 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 only 35. They were my best friends.
“I had another brother, Rory, who died in a car accident when he was a year old. We talked about him all the time.
“The Seamus Heaney intermission reminds me of Rory. The line “I saw him for the first time in six weeks. Now he has turned pale, he has a poppy bruise on his left temple, which I will always remember.
“My mom said that Rory looked like an angel and you wouldn’t notice that anything happened other than a bruise.
“I remember the teacher reading this poem. This immediately made me think of him.
“My mom Maura and dad Noel are the strongest and sweetest people I know. Since my mother was a teacher and my father is from Argentina, the nature of our family has always put children first.
“We are very people-oriented as a family. We were a very close-knit family and did a lot together.”
In the same interview, Aidin honored the memory of her parents who outlived all their children.
She said: “They have been through a lot, losing three of their children, but they refuse to let life catch up with them. They are funny, loving and supportive and enjoy all that life has to offer. They are bridge champions. While I don’t really approve of them playing bridge all over the world because my nerves are on edge when they stagger, I admire their attitude towards life.”