Tributes have been paid to Derry City F.C. legend, Mark Farren, who died in the early hours of Wednesday morning at the age of 33.
Mark was diagnosed with a brain tumour for the third time last year.
Leading the tributes to the former Derry City F.C. star were Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness and SDLP leader and MLA for Foyle, Colum Eastwood.
“It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Derry City footballing legend Mark Farren,” said Mr. McGuinness.
“Mark fought a courageous battle with his illness, bravely supported by his wife Terri-Louise and their families.
“Mark will be remembered by Derry City supporters and the people of Derry for his exploits on the football pitch, but he was much more than a footballer. He was also a gentleman and loyal friend. His loss will be most acutely felt by his wife Terri-Louise, and the wider Farren and Holmes families.
“I extend my sincerest and heartfelt condolences and those of my Party to them at this very sad time. Ar dheas Dé go raibh a anam,” added Mr. McGuinness.
“Terrible news about Mark Farren. Derry City fans have lost a hero - RIP,” said Mr. Eastwood.
Former Derry City team mate and current Republic of Ireland international, James McClean, described Mark as an amazing person.
“Gutted at the news of the death of my former teammate Mark Farren, great player, even better man, prayers are with his family, RIP buddy,” said McClean.
Burnley F.C. defender, Daniel Lafferty, who played alongside Mark at Derry City from 2010 to 2012, said it was a privilege to share a dressing room with the goal scoring legend..
“Privileged to have shared a dressing room with Mark Farren, an absolute gentleman and a Derry City legend.”
Derry City F.C. used Facebook to pay tribute Mark and described him as a “true gentleman”.
“Ladies and gentlemen we’ve awoken to the devastating news that Derry City legend Mark Farren has passed away. Our thoughts are with Terri and all the family at this awful time. Rest In Peace Mark, you were a true gentleman.”
Tyrone’s three time All-Ireland winning player, Owen Mulligan, said: Sad news about the passing of Mark Farren - RIP.”
On Christmas Eve 2008, Mark was diagnosed with a grade two brain tumour and was forced to take early retirement from professional football.
Mark underwent successful brain surgery in Liverpool in 2009 and along with the help and support of Terri-Louise, his friends and family, he made a full recovery.
In 2012, Mark accomplished what many had thought impossible, when, in the unmistakable red and white of his beloved Derry City, he broke Liam Coyle’s goal scoring record of 112 goals when he completed a hat-trick against Mervue United in the FAI Cup at the Brandywell.
Mark and Terri-Louise married in 2009 and after enduring the horror of a brain tumour diagnosis they started to build a life together.
“Terri is my rock and I don’t know where I would be without her. Hopefully everything what has happened is now in the past and we can get on with what we like doing best, quiet nights in watching movies and walking along the shore from Moville to Greencastle,” said Mark in an interview with the ‘Journal’ in his home in Moville in February 2014.
Mark was then diagnosed with a brain tumour for a second time in 2013 and after surgery and more treatment, Mark and his wife, Terri-Louise, set down the road to recovery a second time.
However, their worst nightmares were realised when Mark was diagnosed with a grade four brain tumour last year.
Mark underwent surgery and treatment immediately and in a bid to cure him, his family and friends organised a special charity fund to pay for specialist treatment in a clinic in Tijuana, Mexico.
Mark and Terri-Louise returned home to Moville Co. Donegal at the end of the summer.