Armagh man who died in US was due home for Christmas

A Co Armagh science graduate who died suddenly in the United States was a 'very loving and conscientious' young man with a bright future in his chosen field, his family has said.

Philip Hagan was found in his Philadelphia apartment on Saturday after failing to show at work the previous day
Philip Hagan was found in his Philadelphia apartment on Saturday after failing to show at work the previous day

Philip Hagan from Tynan, son of Rev Matthew Hagan, was discovered by emergency services at his Philadelphia apartment on Saturday after he failed to turn up for work on Friday.

The former Royal School Dungannon pupil had secured a job with Cigna Health Care after graduating in Actuarial Science from Heriot-Watt University.

A heartbroken Rev Hagan told the News Letter his 25-year-old son was “very close to the family” and was due home for Christmas this weekend.

“He was such an intelligent, loving, friendly and conscientious young man who had his whole life ahead of him,” Rev Hagan said.

It is understood a post-mortem examination will be held to establish the exact cause of death.

Philip’s brother Jonathan Hagan said the family began to get concerned when Philip didn’t respond to messages on Friday and Saturday.

“We were wondering why he hadn’t been replying,” Jonathan told the Ulster Gazette.

“When his work colleagues contacted to say he didn’t show into work on Friday that set alarm bells ringing.”

Jonathan said the support of family, friends and wider community “has been brilliant and very comforting,” and praised the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust for its efforts in helping the family get the remains of their loved one home.

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson is a member of Aghavilly Parish Church where Rev Hagan is rector.

Mr Nicholson said: “The Hagan family are highly respected in the Tynan, Middletown and Aghavilly area of south Armagh and my sympathy goes out to them.”

He said the news from Philadelphia was “tragic,” and added: “Family bereavement coming up to Christmas is not an easy burden to bear and our prayers and thoughts are with the Hagans at this time.”

Mr Nicholson’s expression of sympathy was endorsed by his son Sam, the deputy mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.

Former UUP MLA Danny Kennedy also knows the Hagan family well and said they are “really involved in both the church and the community”.

Mr Kennedy said: “They are well-loved within the area. These are very sad circumstances and this is a very severe blow to the family.”

The family hopes to have Philip’s remains returned to Northern Ireland as soon as possible, but the necessary clearance could take up to 10 days.

A former deputy head boy at Royal School Dungannon, Philip achieved 10 A* grades at GCSE and two A* and one A grade at A-level in 2011. He was also awarded the Chief Scout diamond award the same year.

Jonathan Hagan said: “He ended up in Philadelphia between his second and third year at Heriot-Watt because he was top of his year.

“He was awarded an internship to work with Cigna Health Care, so he did an 11-week internship in Philadelphia and they offered him a job at the end of that, once he graduated.

“He was very close to the family and was due to come home for Christmas on December 16.”

Jonathan added: “The Foreign Office in London have been brilliant and have been offering their support.”