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Legendary Irish jockey Pat Smullen dies at the age of 43 in Dublin hospital after a battle with cancer

Legendary Irish jockey Pat Smullen dies in Dublin at 43 after losing battle with pancreatic cancer

  • Smullen retired in May 2019 after completing treatment for pancreatic cancer
  • Smullen initially got a clean bill of health, but recently relapsed
  • His death was announced a year after a legend race he organized grossed £ 2.3 million

The racing world was in mourning on Tuesday night after the death of nine-time Irish champion jockey Pat Smullen was announced at the age of 43.

Smullen, who has been struggling with pancreatic cancer since March 2018, died at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.

Smullen, a 12-time European Classic winner, enjoyed a long partnership with trainer Dermot Weld and their victories together include the 2016 Derby at Harzand.

Legendary jockey Pat Smullen has been fighting pancreatic cancer since March 2018

Legendary jockey Pat Smullen has been fighting pancreatic cancer since March 2018

Smullen initially received a clean bill of health last year and committed to hosting a race of legends at the Curragh, which raised more than € 2.5m (£ 2.3m) for an anti-cancer charity.

However, he relapsed in recent months and his condition deteriorated last week. He leaves behind his wife Frances and their three children Hannah, Paddy and Sarah.

Brian Kavanagh, CEO of Horse Racing Ireland, told the PA news agency: “Pat was one of our biggest stars. He was a nine-time champion jockey, but in many ways his greatest achievements were off the saddle.

‘Since his diagnosis he has done a fantastic job raising money for a good cause and he fought with a big heart against this disease and it is hard to believe he passed away at such a young age. All our thoughts are with Frances and his three children, Hannah, Paddy and Sarah, and all of his friends and colleagues in the weighing room.

Jockey Smullen won the Derby in Epsom in 2016 at Harzand, trained by Dermot Weld

Jockey Smullen won the Derby in Epsom in 2016 at Harzand, trained by Dermot Weld

Jockey Smullen won the Derby in Epsom in 2016 at Harzand, trained by Dermot Weld

‘It is a really sad day for Irish racing. Pat was one of the best men you could meet. There has been such a reaction around Irish racing and such a degree of shock, which shows the high esteem with which Pat has been held.

It was a pleasure to have something to do with it – his performance in the saddle was one thing, but his qualities out there was another.

‘He was a global figure in racing, but his response to his diagnosis and the fundraising he did last year was really great.

“It’s just a sad, sad day.”

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