'Inspirational' Emma Hannigan dies

'Inspirational' Emma Hannigan dies

Irish author Emma Hannigan has died aged 45 after a long battle with cancer.

Hannigan passed away on Saturday (3rd March), just days after her latest novel, Letters To My Daughters (Hachette Ireland), reached number one in Ireland's book charts, following a campaign by fellow Irish authors to propel her to the top spot.

The campaign was launched last month after Hannigan disclosed that "all avenues have been exhausted" in her battle with breast cancer. It was supported by authors including Marian Keyes and Carmel Harrington, and Irish independent bookseller Dubray Books further pledged to donate all profits from its sales of the title "to support anyone who has been touched by cancer".

Responding to the news, Hannigan's publisher, Hachette Ireland, tweeted: “So sad that our beloved author & friend Emma Hannigan passed away earlier today. She inspired us all with her immeasurable strength, her generosity & her love. She was a storyteller to her core & will be missed so much. Our thoughts are with her family now."

In a statement Hachette Ireland added that Hannigan's "courage, generosity of spirit, and love, enveloped us all."

"Emma’s writing carried her through tough times", said the publisher. "It allowed her an escape and, in turn, she created vibrant, colourful worlds to which her readers could escape – and her talent, imagination, her unique warmth and humour is evident on each and every page of her novels. Emma Hannigan will be greatly missed for her stories, for her voice as an author, and as a friend."

Hannigan's agent Sheila Crowley at Curtis Brown, also paid tribute to "one of the most beautiful and insiprational women ever".

Crowley tweeted: "Yesterday Ireland, Bray and the World lost one of the most beautiful and inspirational women ever. I was blessed to represent Emma Hannigan for the last eight years and we became good friends in latter years. It was an honour and a pleasure."

Last month Hannigan had told fans on her blog that "all avenues" for treatment "had been exhausted". She wrote: “All good things must come to an end. The time that I knew was borrowed must be given back soon, so it seems. My medical team have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at this fight but all avenues have now been exhausted."

Since the blog was posted over €100,000 has been raised for the Breast Cancer Ireland, of which Hannigan was an ambassador. 

Hannigan was the author of 13 books including Designer Genes, The Summer Guest, The Secrets We Share and number one bestsellers The Wedding Promise and The Perfect Gift. In 2011 Hannigan penned Talk to the Headscarf, a memoir charting her journey with cancer, which was updated and reissued in 2017 as All To Live For: Fighting Cancer, Finding Hope.

Hannigan is survived by her husband, Cian, her son, Sacha, and daughter, Kim.