The brother of Declan Donnelly, one half of entertainment duo Ant and Dec, has died after collapsing at his church in Newcastle.
Father Dermott 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.
Father Donnelly was the elder brother of Declan Donnelly, who shot to fame on CBBC programme Byker Grove with co-star Anthony McPartlin.
The pair went on to form a double act, hosting shows such as SMTV: Live, Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out Of Here.
Declan tweeted on Friday evening: “I am heartbroken to tell you that my darling brother Fr Dermott, @TweeterPriest, sadly passed away this afternoon.
“We are all beyond devastated. Thank you for your messages of sympathy and support, they are appreciated DD.”
In a message on Facebook, the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle said the news of Father Donnelly’s death came as a “great shock”.
The Rt Rev Robert Byrne said: “It is with great sadness that we heard of the death of Fr Dermott Donnelly who died peacefully on Friday afternoon in hospital.
“This has come as a great shock to all of us.
“Please pray for the repose of his soul and keep his family in your prayers at this difficult time.”
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