Michelle Dockery thanks fans for their 'support and kindness' following fiancé's death

Chloe Best

Michelle Dockery's family have thanked the public for their messages of support following the death of her fiancé John Dineen. The 34-year-old passed away on Sunday morning after an illness, leaving the Downton Abbey star "devastated".

A spokesperson for the family has requested that they are "left to grieve in private" in a statement released to the press: "The family is very grateful for the support and kindness they have received but would kindly request that they are left to grieve in private."

John reportedly died in Marymount Hospital in Cork on Sunday after being "ill for some time". No further details have been released, but the Irish Examiner reports that a private funeral service will take place on Wednesday.

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Michelle Dockery's fiancé John Dineen has passed away

Michelle began dating the financial PR in September 2013 after being introduced by mutual friend Allen Leach, who played chauffeur Tom Branson in the ITV show. The couple kept their relationship out of the spotlight, but were understood to have got engaged earlier in the year.

Reports in February said that Michelle, who plays straight-talking Lady Mary Crawley in the period drama, broke the news to her fellow cast members by debuting a beautiful diamond ring.

"She's over the moon and was showing it off to all of the cast and crew," a source told The Sun in February. "It's wonderful news and everyone is delighted. She and John make a lovely couple."

Michelle rarely spoke about her personal life in interviews, but once admitted: "I have a wonderful man in my life from Ireland. We were introduced by Allen Leech. That's all you need to know!"

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The couple were introduced by a mutual friend in 2013

The couple had been pictured together at the Venice Film Festival, Wimbledon and at polo's Cartier Queen's Cup.

A friend of John also said: "He is very private and softly spoken but he has really been taken by Michelle. Friends have joked that they must have also been drawn together because of their Irish connections."

John was raised in Waterfall, Cork and studied at UCC before completing a masters in 2005. He worked as a Senior Director in FTI Consulting in London.

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