Ant McPartlin has paid tribute to Father Dermott Donnelly, the brother of his presenting partner Declan Donnelly, following his death on Friday.
Father Donnelly was a priest at St Joseph’s Church in Stanley, County Durham and had been a member of the clergy for 30 years.
The 55-year-old was said to have died of a “mystery illness” in hospital on Friday after collapsing at the church.
He was the elder brother of television presenter Declan Donnelly, who works as a double act with Ant McPartlin.
On Saturday, McPartlin tweeted: “Fr Dermott you were the kindest, wisest man I knew. Rest in peace my friend. You will never be forgotten.
“My thoughts, prayers and love are with your wonderful family.
“The world has lost a special man. X A.”
It followed a tribute on the duo’s shared Twitter account on Friday by Declan, who said he was “beyond devastated” at the loss of his brother.
In 2015, Father Donnelly officiated at Declan’s wedding to Ali Astall in Newcastle in a star-studded ceremony.
He had recently celebrated his 30th anniversary of service to his parish and community, where he was best known for his work with young people and youth ministry.
Hexham and Newcastle Bishop Robert Byrne said: “He will be sorely missed for his energy, enthusiasm and ability to engage with all who met him.”
He added: “This is particularly true in his work with young people and youth ministry in the diocese, bringing many disadvantaged and dispirited young people to Christ.
“He truly lived his faith, and in doing so gave so much to others.
“It is with great gratitude that we will remember him and all he selflessly gave.”
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