Little girl who stole Adele's heart dies at home on St Stephen's Day

Pop superstar Adele visiting Rebecca Gibney in her east Belfast home last March.

A LITTLE girl who stole the heart of global superstar Adele when she visited her home in east Belfast has passed away, with her mother paying tribute to "an angel" who "brought so much love and joy to our home".

Rebecca Gibney, who suffered from cerebral palsy, epilepsy and was also blind, died at her home in the Short Strand on St Stephen's Day.

Her mother Tracey last night said she wanted to thank all those who had visited her home and offered support.

The 14-year-old made headlines when Adele took time out from rehearsals during the Belfast leg of a world tour in March 2016 to visit the seriously ill little girl at home.

Tracey said it was a "dream come true" for Rebecca when Adele spent an hour at her daughter's bedside and posed for cherished photographs.

The devoted mother, who despite her daughter's complex needs refused to allow her to go into residential care and looked after her at home with the help of her 21-year-old daughter Joanna, said Rebecca listened to the star all day and when she carried her to bed at night she put Adele's music on to help her drift off to sleep.

Despite being told on several occasions that Rebecca had only months to live the little girl defied the odds and survived into her teens.

Tracey Gibney with her beloved daughter Rebecca. Picture by Hugh Russell.

Ms Gibney told how her daughter had been unwell for the two weeks prior to her death.

"She was my world; she was Joanna's world, we would have kept her with us forever, only it wouldn't have been fair on Rebecca.

"Everyone who met her loved her,. We were delighted when Adele called to our house. Rebecca listened to her music all day and at night when I put her to bed I had to put Adele on for her, you could see it made her happy."

The mother-of-two paid tribute to the nurses who attended Rebecca every day and the staff of Glenveagh Special School in south Belfast, who she says showed so much love and care to her daughter until her condition deteriorated to the point where she could no longer attend.

Tracey said: "She brought so much love and joy to our home. We'll miss her every day, she was a little angel".

Rebecca will be buried tomorrow at Roselawn Cemetery following 9.30am Requiem Mass at St Matthew's Church.

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