Declan Donnelly’s Catholic priest brother passes away after short illness

Father Dermott Donnelly prays for The Pray Shield UK

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Father Dermott Donnelly, who was a Catholic priest in their native North East, was taken to hospital earlier this week.

But the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle confirmed yesterday afternoon that he had passed away.

Declan, 46, tweeted: “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 DD.”

The I’m A Celebrity host rushed up from London to be at Dermott’s side at University Hospital, North Durham, and to ­support their widowed mother Anne, who is in her 80s.

The brothers were said to be extremely close, growing up together in Cruddas Park, Newcastle upon Tyne. Dermott officiated at Declan’s ­wedding to Ali Astall at St Michael’s Church, Elswick, in 2015, where he had been a priest since 1992.

The diocese of Hexham and Newcastle said: “It is with great sadness we have to inform you of the death of Father Dermott Donnelly, who died peacefully in hospital. This has come as a great shock. Please keep his ­family, especially his mother, in your prayers.”

Anne has told how, with her late husband Alphonsus, the tight-knit family of seven children shared a three-bedroom house where they lived for more than 30 years.

Declan, who once considered following Dermott into the priesthood, is the youngest at 46. His other siblings are Patricia, 59, Eammon, 58, Martin, 57, Moira, 53, and Camelia, 49.

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