The parents of a Co Armagh boy who died after suffering a suspected heart attack at school have spoken of their devastation at the loss of their “precious little boy”.
John Joe Toner, aged 10, took ill at St Malachy’s Primary School, Ballymoyer last week.
Vigils were held for the youngster as the local community hoped and prayed he would recover.
Tragically, John Joe passed away in hospital last night.
His heartbroken mother and father, Maria and Cormac Toner, asked people to keep them in their thoughts over the coming days and weeks.
They told the News Letter: “We are totally devastated at the loss of our precious little boy. We wish to extend our thanks to everyone who prayed for him and attended vigils.
“Our heartfelt thanks to the medical team at Daisy Hill Hospital, Newry and to Clark clinic at the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children, who supported us through these difficult times.”
Parish priest, Father Malachy Murphy said John Joe’s tragic passing had shocked the entire community.
He added: “John Joe had a heart condition since birth, but he was improving. This happened so suddenly.”
Describing John Joe as a “lovely young lad”, Fr Murphy added: “He was very well-liked, gentle and wise beyond his years.
“John Joe was a server here at the Church of St Malachy in Ballymoyer, and he was due to have his confirmation next month with his classmates.
“He will be sadly missed and I know local people will be thinking about the family and praying for them at this very difficult time.”