The community in Londonderry has been left stunned following the tragic death of a local teenager.
Hundreds of messages have been left on social media paying tribute to Ryan Higgins, from Dunaff Gardens, in the Creggan who passed away today at Altnagelvin Hospital.
It’s understood the local teenager had been a pupil at St Joseph’s Boys’ School.
Father Joseph Gormley, Creggan’s Parish Priest, described the news as a tragedy.
“This is just a tragedy for Ryan’s family and friends and we will be praying for them all in the coming days. We had also offered up prayers for Ryan at the morning Mass earlier on Thursday. We must now support his family members as they prepare for his funeral in the coming days. The parish and community at St Mary’s will now rally around as they always do and help one another in coming to terms with this,” he said.
Friends of Ryan Higgins took to social media to express their grief.
One friend said: “Can’t believe I’m actually writing this, RIP Ryan Higgins you were a lovely fella taken too soon, watch over your friends and family now.”
Another tribute read: “You’ll be missed wee bud and I still can’t believe I’m even writing this, thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends.”
Ryan has been described as a gentle person and a good friend by those who knew him.
Another shocked friend wrote: “So heartbreaking to wake up to, can’t get my head around it you really don’t know what’s around the corner, Rip Ryan such a gentle man and Always had a smile on your face.”
Another comment on social media read: “Made many memories together playing football. Ones that I will never forget. Sleep tight big man.”
His loss was described as heartbreaking by others on social media.
Ryan is survived by his parents, Colleen and Ryan, his brothers Lee and Calum and his sister Leah.