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Ardoyne mum-of-two dies of heart attack aged 22

Mother-of-two Aisling Anderson from Ardoyne in Belfast
Andrea McKernon

The uncle of a 22-year-old mother from Belfast who collapsed and died in Spain has spoken of his family's heartache at her sudden death.

Aisling Anderson, (22) from Ardoyne was the mother of a little boy and a three-month-old baby girl.

She had just arrived on a weekend break in Santa Ponsa with her fiancé Michael McGrann when the idyllic early autumn holiday turned to tragedy. The couple had been engaged for just two weeks.

Ms Anderson's uncle Gerard McCabe, a Sinn Féin councillor, said the family were "absolutely devastated" and described Aisling as "a devoted mother, full of charisma and always smiling".

"They took off for a long weekend break to Majorca for a couple's break. Aisling had no underlying health issues, but had some dental work done so she had a little discomfort with that, but nothing anyone would have been concerned about," he said.

"They flew out on Thursday and were due back on Monday. When they got to Santa Ponsa, they got sorted with their hotel, and then went for a couple of drinks in a bar. Aisling would rarely have had any more than three drinks. At 10pm they left the bar and Aisling just collapsed outside."

Paramedics fought in vain for nearly an hour to resuscitate the otherwise fit and healthy young woman looked on by her partner who endured an anguished wait until doctors finally broke the news that his fiancée had passed away.

Mr McCabe said: "The emergency services arrived and they worked on wee Aisling for over an hour, but she died at the scene. They did a post mortem and it just said that she'd died of natural causes.

"But the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs who have been terrific and who have been dealing with the family, were told Aisling died of heart failure.

"Aisling just lived for and was devoted to her children - her little son Michael who is four and her baby daughter Ava-Rose who was born just three months ago. She and her partner had just become engaged in August so they were planning their lives together. She is the second youngest of six children and her family is heartbroken."

Arrangements were made by her grieving family to bring Ms Anderson's distraught partner home from the Spanish resort to be with the children, while two sisters of her sisters set off to Majorca to make arrangements to bring home her remains.

"Her mother Teresa and father Davy and the family are just heartbroken. The only way to describe our Aisling was happy-go-lucky. She was always a kid who saw the funny side of things," said Mr McCabe.

"She was always the centre of attraction - full of charisma and laughter. She was always happy in herself and being a mother to those two wee youngsters. Aisling was very much in love and looking forward to getting married.

"Her partner is completely devastated and he had to get home to the children, but Aisling's sisters are with her now so we made sure she was not left on her own. We hope to get Aisling's remains back home early this week."

"We would like to thank all the neighbours, friends and community in Ardoyne who have paid tribute on social media to Aisling and all those who have supported the family at this difficult time as well as West Belfast MP Paul Maskey who has been working with the Irish embassy to help us," he said.

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