Northern Ireland news

Tributes to west Belfast musician Paul Weatherhead following sudden death

Well-known musician Paul Weatherhead passed away suddenly on Saturday night at his home in Antrim
Marie Louise McConville

A TALENTED musician who collapsed during a gig at a seaside hotel in Co Antrim a month ago, has died suddenly at home.

Paul Weatherhead (45) a well-known bass guitarist from west Belfast, will be buried tomorrow.

Mr Weatherhead fell ill while playing at the Waterfall Bar in Carnlough on Easter Sunday and was taken to hospital where further tests revealed the kidney cancer he had battled in 2016 had returned and spread to his brain causing right side paralysis.

Released from hospital after 10 days, he declined radiation treatment which doctors said would not necessarily prolong his life.

He had spent the last month at home being cared for by his wife of 21 years Gabriella.

Well-known musician Paul Weatherhead pictured with his wife, Gabriella a week before he passed away

Unable to play the guitar, the musician, who was known as `Whipper', dedicated himself to putting together and releasing a new album called `Resistance', which contained pre-recorded material.

The album was released on May 18, a week before his sudden death at home last Saturday in Antrim.

It is believed Mr Weatherhead, who was originally from Fruithill Park and a former pupil of De La Salle College, suffered a cardiac arrest.

Speaking to the Irish News his wife Gabriella, who was with him when he died, said everyone had been left "devastated."

"There is no cure for kidney cancer," she said.

"They start therapy which maybe stalls it. But he was positive about the whole thing. He just didn't want self pity. He was recovering really well. He looked better than before.

"He was looking after himself and making progress every day. I didn't see that coming. He didn't see it coming. He was looking forward to life."

Mrs Weatherhead said her husband had taken an interest in music from an early age.

"He played with different bands," she said.

"He played with local reggae band, Bréag. After I met him he was with the Ben Reel band for about 10 years and they played all around Ireland. He self-produced a number of albums in the studio he had at home. His latest one, Resistance, was released on digital platforms literally a week (before he died).

"He was just the most amazing person. He never knew limits. Nothing was impossible. No matter what problem, he was the first person you turned to and he would have a solution. He was just a soulful person".

She added: "You never really want to believe that this is the end. All I see is how much life he had and the desire to live. It's like everything has been ripped out and replaced by devastation. It's not even clear in my head how I am going to move on from it".

Mr Weatherhead will be buried tomorrow at Blaris Cemetry in Lisburn following11am Requiem Mass at St Luke's Church in Twinbrook.

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