Gifted sound mixer Aaron O'Neill (29) dies five weeks after cancer diagnosis
A GIFTED young Belfast man who worked with some of the world's top film-makers has died just five weeks after being diagnosed with stomach cancer.
Aaron O'Neill (29), a sound dubbing mixer described as an "inspiration", passed away on Monday evening in the Somerton Road hospice in north Belfast.
Having worked on TV hits including The Fall, Line of Duty and Game of Thrones and alongside Oscar-winning documentary maker Alex Gibney, the Oldpark man had been planning to buy a house in London just days before he was admitted to hospital in early June.
An employee of Yellowmoon production company in Holywood since graduating from Queen's University with a masters degree in sonic arts in 2012, he had just completed work on a massive Disney series for teenagers in the US.
He also mixed the critically-acclaimed documentary Bobby Sands: 66 Days and worked on hit indie film Bad Day for the Cut.
A non-smoker who took the occasional drink and had a kale juice each morning, Aaron's brother-in-law Jim Forbes said he was "just the nicest guy you could ever meet".
"He was quiet and just so smart. At one point he was going to be a doctor but then got into media. He didn't talk much about his work but the house hasn't stopped since he passed away, with people from Universal studios in America and others getting in touch," he said.
"Aaron lived with his mother Collette and she is completely heartbroken. We all are."
During his final eight days in the hospice, Aaron did the Irish Times crossword every day with his boss and Yellowmoon founder Greg Darby.
He said the "best in film production wanted to work with him".
"He had had an instinct for working in sound - and his attention to detail was legendary. In my 25 years of running a production company I have never met a talent like him," he said.
"He was incredibly quick-witted and had a very sharp mind, he could have done anything he wanted to do. He was also a tremendous musician and played the piano. He was an inspiration."
Mr Forbes said Aaron had been feeling unwell since February with stomach pains but became hunched over in pain five weeks ago.
"Within 48 hours they told him it was cancer and there was nothing they could do," he said.
"He coped with his illness very well and was talking away right up until the end. He mother was by his bedside, she moved slightly and in that moment he just slipped away. He was born at 5.45am on a Monday and died at 5.45pm on a Monday."
Aaron is survived by his brothers Sean-Paul and Liam and sister Danielle. His funeral Mass will take place this morning at 10am at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Deanby Gardens in north Belfast.