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Family pays tribute to Belfast journalist Gary Gilliland who died suddenly in Liverpool

South Belfast man, Gary Gilliland who has died in Liverpool
Marie Louise McConville

THE brother of a “caring and generous” Northern Ireland man who died suddenly in Liverpool has spoken of his family’s sorrow.

Journalist Gary Gilliland (40), from south Belfast’s Ormeau Road area, was a well-known sub-editor who had moved to England in recent years.

He was found dead at his flat in Liverpool on Monday. A postmortem examination will be carried out to establish the cause of his death.

Mr Gilliland, a Queen’s University Belfast graduate, was taken ill some weeks ago and underwent tests.

He had been back home staying with family but returned to Liverpool for the weekend to attend an Iron Maiden concert with a friend.

Well-known in media circles in Northern Ireland, Mr Gilliland had worked for publications including The Mirror, The People and The News Letter.

Later in his career he worked for the Liverpool Echo. Most recently he had been employed as a sub-editor at the Chelsea Football Club magazine.

It is the second tragedy to touch the Gilliland family. Gary’s death comes almost 17 years after his brother Ryan was killed in a car crash in south Belfast.

The 19-year-old and his friend Neil Cochrane (25) died instantly when the Honda car in which they were travelling struck a wall at the Ivanhoe Inn on Saintfield Road in July 2000.

Speaking to The Irish News on Wednesday, Mr Gilliland’s brother Darren described the death of a second brother as “unbelievable”.

He said Gary “loved life” and was “always thinking of others”.

“He loved writing and he was a keen golfer and musician,” he said.

“He played the guitar. He used to do a few gigs when he lived in Belfast but in Liverpool it was a hobby.”

Darren described his brother as “a very caring, generous, thoughtful person”.

He said Gary became ill around a month ago but “in the midst of getting scans, he had started to pick up a bit” and decided to travel to Liverpool with his friend for the weekend.

“The guy with him said he had a great night on Saturday night,” he said.

“It is just unbelievable.

“We lost my younger brother 17 years ago. Ryan died in different circumstances. It’s nothing you ever expect to go through, especially for my mum and dad. It has been just devastating.”

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