The brother of actress Danika McGuigan – the daughter of former world champion boxer Barry – has told of his “heartbreak” at her death yesterday.
Known as Nika, the 33-year-old died following a short battle with cancer, the second time she had been diagnosed with the deadly disease.
“It breaks my heart to write this. My beautiful sister Danika lost her battle with cancer in the early hours of Tuesday morning, at the young age of 33,” said her brother Shane, a boxing coach.
“She overcame it once with a two-year fight when she was 11 to 13. Myself, my brothers and parents were privileged to have another 20 years since the first battle with our amazing Nika.
“Unfortunately, Nika couldn’t beat it again but she fought so bravely until the end. I have memories that I’ll cherish for a lifetime and you will live on forever in spirit.
“I’m so, so proud of you! Love you forever my older ‘little’ sister.”
A graduate of both Bow Street and Gaiety acting schools, Danika played Danielle in ‘Can’t Cope Won’t Cope’, which was written by Stefanie Preissner, and which ran on RTÉ for two seasons in 2016 and 2018.
Preissner paid tribute to the “brilliant” young actress on Twitter.
“Shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the untimely passing of Nika McGuigan – the brilliant, lovely, Danielle in ‘Can’t Cope Won’t Cope’ wouldn’t have been the same without her,” said Preissner.
“Deepest condolences to her family and loved ones.”
Amy Huberman, who also starred in Preissner’s show, said it was “devastating news about the talented, fantastic, shining Nika”.
Writer and director Niall McKay said he was “devastated” to hear the news, adding she was “a great actress and a beautiful person”.
Bow Street screen acting school expressed their shock over the news of the passing of its former student.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Nika McGuigan’s untimely passing. She was one of our first students at The Factory and her unique talent, energy and smile was a constant inspiration.
“We would like to extend our deepest sympathy to her family at this difficult time.”
Casting director Louise Kiely said it was “heartbreaking news” and described Nika as a “lovely, talented lady”.
As well as ‘Can’t Cope Won’t Cope’, Nika also performed in Cathal Brady’s film ‘Wildfire’ and ‘The Secret Scripture’, which was directed by Jim Sheridan and also starred Rooney Mara.
Her father Barry lost his own father Pat to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a rare blood cancer, in 1987.
Since then, the Monaghan man has dedicated himself to raising awareness of the disease, as well as many other charitable causes.
He teamed up with the Irish Cancer Society in 2017 to highlight that blood cancer was the fourth most common cause of cancer-related death in Ireland.
Members of the boxing community came out in support of McGuigan yesterday, including Olympian Paddy Barnes and Carl Frampton, with both men sharing sympathies online.
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