Tributes paid to St Malachy's student Aaron Fox following sudden death
A NORTH Belfast school has written to parents following the sudden death of one of its pupils.
In a letter, the principal of St Malachy's College has urged families to support their sons following the death of Aaron Fox.
The 16-year-old, from the Ligoniel area of the city, died on Wednesday.
Tributes were paid to the Year 12 student who was described as a "talented" pupil who was a "budding chef and gifted artist".
Family and friends have also paid tribute to the teenager on social media with his mother and brother both writing of their devastation.
Sarah Fox said the "family are totally heartbroken" while Aaron's elder brother Ryan also described their loss on a Facebook page set up dedicated to him.
"Such a strong person, no one should leave this world at 16 especially due to suicide," he said.
"I love you wee man, shine bright in the sky for us cause (sic) we'll need all the help and guidance we can get."
In a statement on the St Malachy's College website, the school said it was "deeply saddened by the sudden and tragic loss of one of our esteemed Year 12 pupils".
"Aaron was a very popular Malachian who had a smile for everyone," the statement said.
"He was a talented student - a budding chef and gifted artist. Aaron will be greatly missed by both staff and pupils.
"The college community wishes to send its condolences to Aaron’s family at this very sad time. We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers."
A letter was also sent to all parents from principal Paul McBride who urged families to provide "extra love and support"to the children in the days ahead.
"Your son may or may not want to talk about it but it is likely that he will need extra love and support from you in the days ahead," he wrote.
"This does not mean that anything is wrong with him. It only means that this traumatic event has been too powerful for him to deal with on his own.
"He may be feeling anxious. Take time to listen to your son and try to provide a predictable routine for him at home."
Mr McBride added: "We are deeply saddened by this great loss but are trying, for the students' sake, to keep the college environment as normal as possible.
"Our thoughts are with Aaron’s family at this tragic time and the college community sends them sincerest sympathy and support."
Family and friends are expected to gather together today in Falls Park to remember the teenager.
His funeral is due to take place at Holy Cross Church in Belfast on Monday at 11am followed by burial in Crumlin Cemetery.
Aaron is survived by his parents Paul and Sarah and siblings Ryan, Jordan and Brogan.