Lyra McKee: Journalist's grieving family touched by 'outpouring of support and love'
The family of murdered journalist Lyra McKee has thanked all those who have shown them love and support in the days since her brutal murder.
The 29-year-old, who was shot dead in Londonderry on Thursday night, will be laid to rest at Carnmoney Cemetery this afternoon following a cross-community funeral service at St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast (1pm).
A statement issued by Ms McKee's family last night said the whole community has been touched by her death. And it urged people to work towards overcoming hatred and intolerance as Lyra would have - with "love, understanding and kindness."
“On Thursday 18th April our beautiful Lyra was taken from us. A daughter, a sister, an aunt, a great-aunt, a partner, a niece, a cousin, and above all, a best friend and confidante to so many of us," the statement said.
"A friend to all, a gentle innocent soul who wouldn’t wish ill on anyone. Such a warm and innocent heart, she was the greatest listener, someone who had time for everyone.
"She was a smart, strong-minded woman who believed in passionately in inclusivity, justice and truth.
"Lyra spoke to and made friends with anybody and everybody, no matter what their background, those of all political views and those with none. This openness, and her desire to bring people together, made her totally apolitical."
It added: "We would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and love we have witnessed this past few days. It has been of immense solace that Lyra meant so much to so many.
"We ask everyone who knew Lyra to continue her message of positivity and hope, by respecting her memory with dignity and respect.
"We as a family know that the whole community has been touched by the events of Thursday night and that many are rightly angry. However, we would ask that Lyra’s life and her personal philosophy are used as an example to us all as we face this tragedy together. Lyra’s answer would have been simple, the only way to overcome hatred and intolerance is with love, understanding and kindness."
The family's statement, issued through their solicitor, concluded by asking that they be given privacy in the coming days and weeks to deal with the trauma of Lyra's tragic death.