It is with a very heavy heart that I pass on the most tragic news in Celtic Thunder.
George Donaldson, our beloved "gentle giant", husband, father, son, brother, colleague and very good friend suffered a massive heart attack last night and passed away long before his time, on Wednesday, 12th March 2014.
I can't tell you how devastated George's family and all of us in the Celtic Thunder family are.
Everyone is in deep shock, reeling from this sudden and tragic loss.
I beg of our fans and friends to respect our mourning and grieving during this difficult time, we would also ask you to hold off contacting the family, cast or crew directly during this period. We are all trying to come to terms with it, everyone is struggling to absorb the shock and deal with their feelings of loss.
We are setting up a memorial page for George on the CT site. The announcement is there, along with the opportunity for everyone to post their sympathies on the page. Here is the link http://www.celticthunder.ie/content/george-donaldson-0
For anyone wishing to make a gesture to George's family, you can make a contribution for the ongoing, and future education, of his daughter Sarah on this page also.
For anyone wanting to send sympathy cards, please send them
℅ Celtic Thunder Limited
19 Priory Hall
We will see that they are sent on to the family.
In place of flowers or other tributes, we would be grateful if people could make a donation, in George's name to our Charities here - http://www.celticthunder.ie/celticthundercharities
I know that all of you loved George too, are going to be as devastated as we are with this awful news of George's untimely death. We know you all share our huge sense of loss and want to extend your own sympathies to his wife Carolyn, daughter Sarah and George & Carolyn's families.
In deep shock and sadness.
Quotes from each of us for George on this tragic day.
"When starting Celtic Thunder, I wanted to cast a mature, dependable Man as one of the characters. Over the 7 years since, I learned that George Donaldson was the embodiment of such a Man.
A kind, loving, gentle giant, George was as affectionate as he was professional. A pleasure to work with, an amazing family man to his wife Carolyn and his daughter Sarah, an important and loved friend to myself and everyone in Celtic Thunder.
I am devastated at his sudden and untimely death. Rest in Peace with your parents George, I will really miss your great hugs. You will be sorely missed. Sharon x"
– Sharon Browne
"Today I lost a colleague, a Celtic Thunder original brother, but, more importantly, I lost a very good friend. From the first day I met him at the audition for Celtic Thunder in 2007, we became "thick as thieves" and shared so many great times together - on and off the stage. I know he's looking down now on the two most important people in his life - Carolyn and Sarah - and on the rest of us holding them up for him, with his guitar strapped around his neck and a pint in his hand with that big smile of his. As he always sang Phil's words, in his own inimitable way: "though he may be gone, memories linger on, and I'll miss him... My Old "Bro"... Rest in peace Big Man. Those of us in what you deemed "Celtic Thunderland" will miss you more than you'll ever know... Ryan xx"
– Ryan Kelly
"Always looking to laugh, joke and see the best in things, no matter how dark or dreary the situation. A big kid at heart, the fatherly figure that never stopped breathing, eating and sleeping Sarah and Carolyn. George was a good man, a hard worker and one of the best people to have on the road, both on and off the stage. I'm sure you’re playing music with the angels now George, I am going to miss you man. This is one of the hardest things I have ever had to write. RIP George Donaldson. Keith x"
– Keith Harkin
"To a dear friend, my days spent with you have been some of the happiest days of my life. Always remembering the countless inspiring stage performances we shared and, more importantly, the confidences and laughs. Holding you close to my heart for the rest of my days,
My friend George x"
– Neil Byrne
"I really don't know what I can say to either sum up how I feel, or how to pay tribute to one of my best friends. George wasn't just an incredible friend from my first second in Celtic Thunder, but a role model. He constantly looked out for me. The two things I know more than anything in the world are firstly how much he loved Celtic Thunder; he really had his dream job and his love for everyone in the company was contagious. Secondly, more importantly, is how much he loved Carolyn and Sarah. They were the 7th and 8th members of our group because of how he included them. He loved them both more than anything else and was so proud of both of them. I’ll miss you so much G, always. RIP Big Man. Colm"
– Colm Keegan
"George was a man who brought light to peoples Lives. An incredible talent. Working with him from a young age, he was always the man to make all the Celtic Thunder gang laugh. He had such joy for life. I am deeply saddened by his loss, and my heartfelt condolences go to his family at this time. RIP George. Love, Damo. x"
– Damian McGinty
"George you were a wonderful friend to me. I can only look back on my memories with you and laugh to my hearts content. You were a true gentleman. A gentle giant. You have left a great legacy behind you and most of all, you were a wonderful spirit. I will miss you so much bro. Rest in peace Big G. Emmet x"
– Emmet Cahill
"George was the first member of the group I met at the auditions, and from day 1 he made me laugh. He had a great sense of humour and made working away from home a hell of a lot easier. I have many great memories with the big man. He will be sorely missed but I know his musical legacy will live on in many hearts and minds. Till we meet again George, May you rest in peace. Paul"
– Paul Byrom
"A wise man once said, when a friend dies it's like a library burning down. Today my life is poorer for the loss of the man who never failed to call me 'brother' and I never failed to feel like he meant it. Goodbye brother and I'm happy to say there are no regrets. I was proud of you every single time I had the pleasure of hearing you tell your stories. David"
– David Munro
George, you will always be with us. Your wonderful smile and charismatic character will forever be imprinted in our hearts.. Rest in Peace.