- 04 Mar 18
The best-selling author and campaigner had fought a long battle against cancer. She leaves behind a remarkable legacy...
President Michal D. Higgins has paid tribute to the Irish author Emma Hannigan, who has died as a result of cancer.
“It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of Emma Hannigan – a campaigner to the end,” the President said.
"Emma Hannigan leaves a lasting legacy not only through her work as a much appreciated author, but also through her exemplary courage in dealing with terminal illness.
"She will be remembered as a powerful advocate for Breast Cancer Ireland, a great cause worthy of all of our support.”
President Higgins’ wife Sabina Higgins joined him in a final word of condolence to Emma's family.
"To her husband Cian,” the President said, "her son Sacha and daughter Kim, and to her wider family and circle of friends, Sabina and I send our deepest sympathies.”
A prolific writer, Emma Hannigan wrote 14 books in all, since her debut Designer Genes (2010). Her latest Letters To My Daughters (2018) was a No.1 best-seller.
In 2005, Emma Hannigan discovered that she was carrying the BRCA 1 cancer gene. This meant she had an 85% chance of developing breast cancer; and a 5/50 chance in relation to ovarian cancer.
She decided to take decisive action, to reduce the risk to 5%. Emma opted to have preventative surgery: the following year, she underwent a double mastectomy and had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed.
However, despite the surgery, in 2007, she was diagnosed with cancer. In the intervening decade she has fought a brave battle against a disease that knows no boundaries.
“Today, my Emma found peace,” her husband Cian said, in a Facebook post. "She bravely fought a battle against a foe with no mercy. Emma was the epitome of strength, love and generosity, beyond anything I have ever known.
“She loved her family, loved her friends, and she left a trail of glitter and joy throughout her life… with of course added tinsel at Christmas.
“She was my wife and soul mate. Mother of my beautiful children, A friend to many and an inspiration to thousands. A loving daughter. Devoted mother
“Best selling Author. Fundraiser. Public speaker. Chef. And Shopaholic...”
“She was my guiding star and my hug to say everything would be ok,” he said. "But mostly she was just my Emma, and I would need her wonderful gift with words to tell you just how much I will miss her.”