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Barry McGuigan admits he suffers the pain of his daughter Danika’s death ‘everyday’

Barry McGuigan discussed the tragedy of losing his daughter Danika for the first time on Friday.

The boxer, 59, spoke about the actress’ passing in a heartbreaking interview for Ireland’s The Late Late Show, admitting that 17 months after her death he still suffers the pain of the loss ‘everyday.’

Danika’s death following a ‘brave battle with cancer’ was announced by her family in a statement on 24th July 2019.

Moving: Barry McGuigan, 59, discussed the tragedy of losing his daughter Danika for the first time on Friday

During the interview, Barry spoke to host Ryan Tubridy about Danika’s struggles with her health from a young age, after being diagnosed with Leukaemia when she was just 11 years old.

The world featherweight champion, recalled the devastating moment he learned Danika was suffering from tumours in her liver and intestine.

Fighting back tears he said: ‘I know there are loads of parents who have lost their children and I know how devastating that is, how hard it is. My heart goes out to all of them. 

Moving: The boxer said that 17 months after his daughter's death he still suffers the pain of the loss 'everyday' (pictured in 2008)

Moving: The boxer said that 17 months after his daughter’s death he still suffers the pain of the loss ‘everyday’ (pictured in 2008)

Sad: During the interview, Barry spoke to host Ryan Tubridy about Danika's struggles with her health from a young age, after being diagnosed with Leukaemia when she was just 11 years old

Sad: During the interview, Barry spoke to host Ryan Tubridy about Danika’s struggles with her health from a young age, after being diagnosed with Leukaemia when she was just 11 years old.

‘They will understand just the pain of everyday, it’s the same. She was such an important part of our lives in everything, even my four grandchildren – my latest grandchild is Mila Nika McGuigan.

‘And every time I look at them I think of her and she loved those kids. She loved Tadhg, who is my first grandchild, who she loved and spent so much time with. She was such a family person.’

Danika McGuigan, who worked as an actress, passed away surrounded by her ‘devastated’ family. 

She had starred in films including Philomena, Mammal and Wildlife and was known as Nika McGuigan in her professional work.

Moving: Fighting back tears he said: 'I know there are loads of parents who have lost their children and I know how devastating that is, how hard it is. My heart goes out to all of them'

Moving: Fighting back tears he said: ‘I know there are loads of parents who have lost their children and I know how devastating that is, how hard it is. My heart goes out to all of them’

Danika attended Princess Anne’s old school Benenden in Kent before completing a drama degree in Dublin.

As a child she overcame leukaemia following a two-year battle, but tragically could not beat cancer for a second time as an adult.

A family statement released today said: ‘It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of our beautiful daughter and sister, Danika ‘Nika’ McGuigan,’

‘After a brief but brave battle against cancer, Nika passed away peacefully in the early hours of Tuesday, July 23, surrounded by her loving family.

‘As a family we are devastated and ask for complete privacy during this difficult period to allow us to grieve for our Nika.’

Heartbreaking: 'They will understand just the pain of everyday, it's the same. She was such an important part of our lives in everything, even my four grandchildren,' he added

Heartbreaking: ‘They will understand just the pain of everyday, it’s the same. She was such an important part of our lives in everything, even my four grandchildren,’ he added

Tragedy: Danika's death following a 'brave battle with cancer' was announced by her family in a statement on 24th July 2019 (pictured in 2011)

Tragedy: Danika’s death following a ‘brave battle with cancer’ was announced by her family in a statement on 24th July 2019 (pictured in 2011)

Danika was Barry’s only daughter, alongside her three brothers Shane, Jake and Blane. Shane McGuigan has followed in the footsteps of his father, becoming one of boxing’s most successful trainers.

Her mother, Sandra, has been married to her father Barry for more than thirty years.

Shane wrote on Instagram: ‘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.

‘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. RIP.’

Moving: Danika McGuigan, who worked as an actress, passed away surrounded by her 'devastated' family (pictured with her father in 1994)

Moving: Danika McGuigan, who worked as an actress, passed away surrounded by her ‘devastated’ family (pictured with her father in 1994)

Speaking of his daughter’s cancer diagnoses in 1997, he told The Sunday Times in 2005: ‘Finding out that Danika had leukaemia was like being hit with a sledgehammer.

‘There’s nothing worse than your child getting sick. No amount of fighting in the ring could have prepared me for it.’

After about a year and a half out of school, Danika returned to school – and in a heartbreaking conversation with her father – said she wouldn’t get sick again. She just got on with her life, Barry said.

He continued: ‘She found a love of drama and is now at acting school in Dublin. The word “dynamo” doesn’t do her justice.

‘With Danika the glass is never half-empty and never half-full. It’s completely full. In fact, it’s probably spilling over.’

In the same interview Danika spoke of her father’s boxing prowess, having been born the year after he won his featherweight title in 1985. He was presented with an MBE while Danika was a child.

Sad: Barry Mcguigan is pictured alongside his wife Sandra, one of his sons and his daughter Danika

Sad: Barry Mcguigan is pictured alongside his wife Sandra, one of his sons and his daughter Danika


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