Declan Donnelly's older brother Dermott has tragically died at the age of 55. Dermott, who was a priest, reportedly collapsed earlier this week following an unknown illness and was hospitalised in North Durham.
On Friday, Dermott's parish confirmed his death in a statement issued by the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle. It 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 had a very close relationship with Dermott, who officiated his wedding to wife wedding to wife Ali Astall in 2015. He previously revealed he had considered following in his older brother's footsteps, saying: "My brother Dermott trained to be a priest. When I was about 14 I did briefly consider following in his footsteps.
Declan Donnelly's brother Dermott has sadly passed away aged 55
"Then, one day, I got the bus home from school and it was full of lasses from the local girls' school, Sacred Heart. I knew right there and then that the priesthood wasn't for me."
The late priest was recently invited by Boris Johnson to join religious leaders outside number 10 to pray for peace in Ukraine.
Dermott officiated Dec's 2015 wedding to Ali Astall
Saturday Night Takeaway star Dec was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1975 to parents Alphonsus Donnelly and Anne Donnelly. The presenter's parents originally lived in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, but moved to Newcastle in the 1950s.
The TV star is the youngest of seven children; he has sisters Camelia, Patricia, and Moira, and brothers Martin, Eamonn, and the late Dermott. Dec has one child of his own, a daughter named Isla Elizabeth Anne, born in September 2018.
Our thoughts are with Dec's whole family at this difficult time.
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