Boxing legend Barry McGuigan has paid tribute to his 33-year-old daughter after she passed away following a battle with cancer. Danika McGuigan,
Boxing legend Barry McGuigan has paid tribute to his 33-year-old daughter after she passed away following a battle with cancer.
Danika McGuigan, who worked as an actress, passed away in the early hours of the morning on July 24, surrounded by her ‘devastated’ family.
Her father has now revealed that she was buried earlier this week and saying goodbye to her was the ‘hardest thing’ he’d ever had to do.
As a child, Danika overcame leukaemia following a two-year battle, but she tragically could not beat the disease for a second time as an adult.
In a touching post on Twitter, her father said: ‘The most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do was to say goodbye to my amazing daughter Nika earlier this week.
Danika McGuigan, the daughter of boxing legend Barry McGuigan, 58, passed away in the early hours of July 24 following a cancer battle
The boxer posted this heartfelt tribute to his daughter on Twitter today, where he said burying her was ‘the hardest thing’ he’d ever had to do
Barry McGuigan is pictured alongside his wife Sandra, one of his sons and his daughter Danika McGuigan who died following a battle with cancer
‘She has been a shining light in our family’s lives for the past 33 years.
‘Nika was an extremely talented and inspirational young lady who radiated kindness and love.
‘Our hearts are broken and we know that life will never be the same again for us.
‘However, Nika lives on in so many parts of our lives which we are grateful for.
‘I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who sent flowers, cards, Mass cards, Instagram messages, Facebook , Twitter , text’s and email messages of condolences and support.
‘There are simply too many to answer individually so I want to use this opportunity to say a huge thank you to each and every one of you, the family greatly appreciate them.’
Tributes have been pouring in for the young actress (left and right). She was the legendary boxer’s only daughter
Barry McGuigan with his wife Sandra and their four children Shane, Jake, Blane and Danika
Danika was the former boxer’s only daughter and had three brothers Shane, Jake and Blane.
She had starred in films including Philomena, Mammal and Wildlife and was known as Nika McGuigan in her professional work.
She attended Princess Anne’s old school Benenden in Kent before completing a drama degree in Dublin
Tributes poured in for the young actress after her death was confirmed by her family.
A family statement said: ‘It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of our beautiful daughter and sister, Danika ‘Nika’ McGuigan,’
Midsommer actor Jack Reynor, 27, paid tribute to the young actress saying she was an ‘extraordinary person’ who will be ‘sorely missed’
Her brother Shane, 31, now a top boxing coach, paid tribute to his sister on Instagram today. He said it ‘breaks my heart to write this’ before saying he has memories that he’ll cherish for a lifetime
‘After a brief but brave battle against cancer, Nika passed away peacefully in the early hours of Tuesday, July 23, surrounded by her loving family.
‘As a family we are devastated and ask for complete privacy during this difficult period to allow us to grieve for our Nika.’
Barry and Sanda McGuigan have been married for 30 years.
Danika’s brother Shane wrote on Instagram: ‘It breaks my heart to write this. My beautiful sister Danika lost her battle with cancer in the early hours of Tuesday morning, at the young age of 33.
‘She overcame it once with a two-year fight when she was 11 to 13. Myself, my brothers and parents were privileged to have another 20 years since the first battle with our amazing Nika.
Danika (pictured with her father left, and right also with her mother) was diagnosed with acute lymphoid leukaemia in 1997, after developing a number of bruises on her arms and legs. She underwent intensive chemotherapy for six months and made a recovery
‘Unfortunately Nika couldn’t beat it again but she fought so bravely until the end. I have memories that I’ll cherish for a lifetime and you will live on forever in spirit.
‘I’m so so proud of you! Love you forever my older ‘little’ sister. RIP.’
Actor Jack Reynor – star of horror film Midsommar – also paid tribute. He said: ‘I’ve just heard that awful and shocking news that the incredible Nika McGuigan has passed away after a short illness.
‘She was an extraordinary person, an extraordinary actor, and she’ll be sorely missed by our community.
‘It’s hard to find words to express the profound sadness of losing such a young and prodigious talent. Rest in peace Nika.’
While screenwriter Stefanie Preissner said: ‘Shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the untimely passing of Nika McGuigan – the brilliant, lovely, Danielle in Can’t Cope Won’t Cope wouldn’t have been the same without her. Deepest condolences to her family and loved ones.’
Danika (top-right) was Mr McGuigan’s only daughter, alongside her three brothers Shane, Jake and Blane. The family are pictured together at their home
And writing on Twitter, a fan wrote: ‘Terribly, terribly sad. Deepest condolences to the McGuigan family circle.’
Most recently, Danika had starred in a television series entitled Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope, an Irish comedy-drama that ran for two series. It told the story of a group of young friends from Cork who share a house in Dublin.
She also in 2016 starred in WWII drama The Secret Scripture which also featured the likes of Jack Reynor, Rooney Mara and Aidan Turner. Her latest film, Wildfire, does not yet have a release date.
Danika had faced cancer as a young child. She was diagnosed with acute lymphoid leukaemia in 1997, after developing a number of bruises on her arms and legs. She underwent intensive chemotherapy for six months and made a recovery.
Danika went alongside her father to Buckingham Palace in 1994 as he was presented with an MBE
Her father Barry McGuigan worked with cancer charity Clic following his daughter’s young leukaemia diagnosis.
Speaking of his daughter’s cancer diagnoses in 1997, he told The Sunday Times in 2005: ‘Finding out that Danika had leukaemia was like being hit with a sledgehammer.
‘There’s nothing worse than your child getting sick. No amount of fighting in the ring could have prepared me for it.’
At the time, Mr McGuigan had been working on a film called The Boxer, starring Daniel-Day Lewis and Jim Sheridan. He flew back as soon as he heard of his daughter’s illness.
After about a year and a half out of school, Danika returned to school – and in a heartbreaking conversation with her father – said she wouldn’t get sick again. She just got on with her life, Mr McGuigan said.
Barry McGuigan attends an event at the Natural History Museum in London to raise money for children’s charity CLIC, which funded the nurse who looked after Danika (pictured centre) who had leukaemia as a child
Barry McGuigan in action, the night he took the title off WBA Champion Eusebio Pedroza of Panama at Loftus Road Stadium in London on June 8, 1985 in front of millions of TV fans
He continued: ‘She found a love of drama and is now at acting school in Dublin. The word “dynamo” doesn’t do her justice.
‘With Danika the glass is never half-empty and never half-full. It’s completely full. In fact, it’s probably spilling over.’
In the same interview Danika spoke of her father’s boxing prowess, having been born the year after he won his featherweight title in 1985. He was presented with an MBE while Danika was a child.
Mr McGuigan’s professional career was most prominent during the 1980s. He is now a boxing manager and promoter, running Cyclone Promotions. The company represents Scottish professional boxer Josh Taylor.
But he is no stranger to tragedy. In 1982 he fatally injured Nigerian fighter Young Ali, who died of his injuries six months after McGuigan knocked him out at London’s Grosvenor House hotel.
And his elder brother Dermot hanged himself in 1994 at the age of 34.