Tragic top model Mairead O'Neill was ‘confident and fragile in equal measure’

Tributes have been paid on social media to a young model after her sudden death.

Mairead O'Neill - who called herself Mairead Leigha on Facebook - was found dead in Belfast last night.

Mairead O'Neill

Mairead O'Neill

She was 21-years-old.

A PSNI spokesman said: “Police attended the scene of a sudden death of a woman in the south Belfast area on Monday 15th October. “The death is not being treated as suspicious.”

She had worked for Belfast businesswoman and model agent Cathy Martin.

Paying tribute to Mairead, Ms Martin said: “She lost her mum in the last year to bowel cancer and I think she was probably a bit lost since that because her mum was a bit of an anchor.”

Mairead O'Neill

Mairead O'Neill

The top businesswoman added that Mairead had been “in equal amounts confident and fragile” and “was probably like a lot of girls her age”.

She added: “One thing that’s really sticking with me today is so many people are talking about how beautiful she is, but mental health and depression can happen to everybody whether you’re the beauty or the beast.

“Although someone might look beautiful on the outside they may be crumbling on the inside.”

On Facebook friends told of their sympathy.

Mairead O'Neill

Mairead O'Neill

One said: "Devastated to read this. Absolutely heartbroken! Absolute ball of a time anytime I worked with her. So much going for her I'm so sad to hear this".

Another said: "Thoughts with all who knew her. Tragic to think what darkness can hide behind such a beautiful light."

And another added: "My heart is breaking reading this, with everything that has happened with my mum over the past few years I could really identify with what Mairead was going through and how hard it is to process, and move on. My heart is heavy, heartbreaking news."

Anyone feeling in despair should contact the Samaritans by clicking on this link.