Ant McPartlin supports best friend Declan Donnelly following death of brother Fr Dermott

Fr Dermott Donnelly passed away suddenly aged 55

Ant McPartlin has reached out with a loving tribute to his best friend Declan Donnelly’s brother Fr Dermott following his sudden death. Taking to the Twitter account he shares with his presenting partner, he spoke fondly of Fr Dermott, writing that the world "had lost a special man".

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The tribute read: "Fr Dermott you were the kindest, wisest man I knew. Rest in peace my friend. You will never be forgotten. My thoughts, prayers and love are with your wonderful family. The world has lost a special man. X A."

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Ant was inundated with responses from both those who knew Dermott to concerned well-wishers. One person wrote: "I was privileged to call Dermott my good friend many years ago. We went on different paths but I never forgot him. The Church has lost a special and truly sincere man who has been taken Home too soon. My prayers are with his dear Mum & family. RIP Dermott, u deserve it."

Another person added: "He was so kind to me when I chose a different vocation to his. 400 children and staff from many of the schools he knew will dedicate a very special performance to him in @durhamcathedral on Tuesday evening. We will remember him and pray as he takes his own #footstepsintoparadise."

Father Dermott passed away unexpectedly aged 55, with his parish confirming the very sad news in a statement that read: "It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of Fr Dermott Donnelly who died peacefully this afternoon in hospital.

"This has come as a great shock to all of us. Please pray for the repose of his soul and keep his family, especially his mother, in your prayers at this difficult time. Funeral arrangements will follow when finalised."

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Dec also tweeted about his brother, writing: "I am heartbroken to tell you that my darling brother Fr Dermott, @TweeterPriest, sadly passed away this afternoon. We are all beyond devastated. Thank you for your messages of sympathy and support, they are appreciated."

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