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Funeral for identical twins who died within hours of each other after cancer diagnosis on same day

Seanín Graham

A joint funeral has taken place in Lurgan on Wednesday for 62-year-old Polish twins, Waldemar and Krzysztop Kropidlowski, who passed away at the weekend. 

The pair, who lived just half-a-mile apart in the Co Armagh town after moving from Gdansk eight years ago to be with their family, received the devastating diagnoses in September while they were on the same ward in Craigavon Area hospital.

Requiem mass took place at St Peter's Church.

Waldemar's daughter, Beata, told the Irish News the brothers were "extremely close" and that the family were reeling from their deaths.

"My uncle Krzysztop was told he had breast cancer and two hours later we learned my dad had stomach cancer while they were being cared for in the same ward, even the hospital staff couldn't believe it," Beata said.

Emotional scenes at the funeral of polish identical twins Waldemar and Krzysztop Kropidlowski (62) who died within hours of each other after getting a cancer diagnosis on same day. Picture Mal McCann 

"We were told that treatment would not be an option for my dad but my uncle was given a bit more hope and returned home to his flat where he was doing okay. Two weeks before he died Krzysztop fell down the stairs and suffered bleeding to his brain. He was admitted to hospital and quickly went downhill.

"My uncle died last Friday after 5pm and my dad died the following morning shortly before 11am. It has come as such a shock as my dad hadn't been really that sick. They were very close and saw each other every day. They were just typical twins.

Emotional scenes at the funeral of polish identical twins Waldemar and Krzysztop Kropidlowski (62) who died within hours of each other after getting a cancer diagnosis on same day. Picture Mal McCann 

"My dad was cared for in the hospice in Newry who were fantastic and he later died at home. Since September me and my mother and two sisters were going between the hospice and Craigavon hospital and staying up all night with them. Marie Curie and our district nurse have helped us a lot.

"We are all devastated, the funeral is going to be very difficult."

Krzysztop, who lived on his own and worked in local factory, had a passion for pet snakes while his twin was obsessed with fishing and travelled round the north for three weeks every summer visiting the best fishing waters.

Both men often experienced pain if his sibling was ill, including a time when Krzysztop broke his arm while in a different city from Waldemar who then began to suffer shoulder pains.

Emotional scenes at the funeral of polish identical twins Waldemar and Krzysztop Kropidlowski (62) who died within hours of each other after getting a cancer diagnosis on same day. Picture Mal McCann 

"Another time my dad had a broken bone in his spine - my uncle rang him and told him to hurry up and get better as he couldn't sit down properly," added Beata.

"They were also very funny and had little quirks. My uncle loved his fashion and every morning visited the estate agent below his flat who helped him do his ties.

Waldemar Kropidlowski with his daughter Beata on her wedding day in Portugal

"There was a time in Poland when they hadn't seen eachother for a few months and met up to find they had both grown moustaches for the first time without the other knowing it."

The funeral of polish identical twins Waldemar and Krzysztop Kropidlowski (62) who died within hours of each other after getting a cancer diagnosis on same day. Picture Mal McCann 

Waldemar and his wife Halina, who had three daughters and four grand-children, were due to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary next year. Following his sudden diagnosis, he arranged for a celebration in a hotel in Donegal.

"That was the type of person my dad was, he was a gentleman."

Emotional scenes at the funeral of polish identical twins Waldemar and Krzysztop Kropidlowski (62) who died within hours of each other after getting a cancer diagnosis on same day. Picture Mal McCann 

Emotional scenes at the funeral of polish identical twins Waldemar and Krzysztop Kropidlowski (62) who died within hours of each other after getting a cancer diagnosis on same day. Picture Mal McCann 

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