EFFORTS were continuing today to bring home the body of a Cork woman who died suddenly on a charity fundraising trip to Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.
Majella Duffy, aged 35, from Rathcormac was on a climb in Tanzania for the Irish Heart Foundation when she became unwell and passed away soon after. The exact cause of her death is still unknown.
Ms Duffy was a keen fitness and bodybuilding enthusiast and her fellow members of NRG Xpress gym in Little Island have paid tribute to her.
"We are all deeply shocked and devastated by the news," a staff member said. "Majella was a huge part of the NRG Xpress family. She was very popular amongst staff and members.
"Majella was extremely dedicated and committed to her training, she had an infectious attitude towards fitness, a great example to our younger and new members. She always brightened our day with a smile and a chat each morning. She will be very sadly missed by the NRG Xpress team. Our thoughts are with her family and friends."
A minute's silence was held for Ms Duffy by her local GAA club, Bride Rovers, at the weekend.
Fermoy councillor Deirdre O'Brien, who knew and previously worked with Ms Duffy, said:
"She was a beautiful, genuine person and an inspiration to us all."
Ms Duffy was climbing Kilimanjaro to raise money for the Irish Heart Foundation. Her father Mike had died from heart disease at a young age and the loss inspired his daughter to help the charity.
Before she left for Africa, she set up a fundraising page and wrote: "I've created this page because I want to make a difference. I'm inspired by the work of the Irish Heart Foundation and wanted to support them by raising money. I lost my dad who was only 47 years old to a massive heart attack 15 years ago. My entire life turned upside down in just a few minutes."
She had already raised more than €9,000 and since news broke of her death many more people have made donations in her honour. One anonymous donor wrote: "A thoroughly good and generous person who never considered that this would be her legacy. Her family and friends will no doubt be forever proud of her. RIP."
The Irish Heart Foundation paid tribute to Ms Duffy and extended their sympathy to her family.
Ms Duffy was an only child. Her mother Bernie and stepdad Seamus spoke of their "inexpressible grief" at the loss of their beloved daughter.
She had worked at Laya Healthcare in Little Island for almost 10 years and colleagues were shocked by her sudden death.
The Department of Foreign Affairs is providing consular assistance to Ms Duffy's family. The cause of death is not yet known. Earth's Edge is also making every effort to support her family and it is hoped her remains can be brought home to Ireland before the end of the week.