Co Down-born pharmacist who died suddenly from heart condition went 'above and beyond for people'
THE family of a Co Down-born pharmacist who died suddenly from a heart condition just two weeks after he was told he was at the top of the transplant list, have told of their heartbreak.
Declan Mulholland, who has been described as an "incredible father", passed away in his sleep at his home in Buncrana in Co Donegal last Wednesday.
The 53-year-old father-of-four, who was originally from Moira, owned Duffy's Pharmacy in Buncrana and was very well-known in the town.
After becoming unwell in November 2017, Mr Mulholland was diagnosed as suffering heart failure and he spent time in and out of Letterkenny Hospital.
In January 2018, he was put on the transplant list for a heart and moved to the Mater Hospital in Dublin where he remained until August that year.
After being fitted with a special device, an LVAD, a battery-operated mechanical pump which helps the left ventricle pump blood to the rest of the body, Mr Mulholland was discharged.
It is believed the Moira man was one of only seven people in Ireland to have been fitted with the device.
Two weeks ago, during an appointment at the Mater Hospital, he was told he was at the top of the transplant list.
However, on Wednesday, the much-loved husband and father died in his sleep.
The cause of death was given as intracerebral hemorrhage.
Speaking to the Irish News, Emer Mulholland said the family had been left "heartbroken" by her father's sudden death.
She revealed that when her father's remains were making their journey home from the under-takers in Buncrana, crowds of people lined the streets and clapped as a mark of respect.
"Literally, the whole town is devastated," she said.
"We have had hundreds of messages from people.
"He had such a big personality. He was always joking, always laughing. He was a humble person. He would had had no idea that that many people would have been clapping for him. He had no idea how much people cared about him. He touched so many people's lives."
Emer called for more people to sign up to be an organ donor, adding that the "hardest part" was the fact that her father had been next in line to receive a new heart.
"The last few years were so tough and it felt like the end of the tunnel but it just wasn't meant to be," she said.
"I don't think people realise how difficult it is to wait for an organ that you desperately need. Organ donation could change the lives of so many people".
Niamh Mulholland said their mother, Siobhan, who is originally from Lurgan, Co Armagh, had been left "heartbroken" by the tragic loss of her husband of almost 30 years.
"We are all speechless to be honest," she said.
"He was an incredible father. He supported us in everything and anything we wanted to do.
"He had the most infectious laugh. He worked in the pharmacy every single day, going above and beyond for people.
"We are so proud of him. I just have this huge void in my heart".