Shock at sudden death of President and Vice Chancellor of Queen's University in Donegal

Professor Patrick Johnston, a leading cancer research specialist, passed away suddenly on Sunday while cycling near Buncrana

Staff Reporter

Reporter:

Staff Reporter

Shock at sudden death of President and Vice Chancellor of Queen's University in Donegal

Professor Patrick Johnston, the President and Vice Chancellor of Queen's University Belfast, will be laid to rest in Donegal on Thursday.

The leading cancer research specialist passed away suddenly on Sunday while cycling near Buncrana.

The 59-year-old Derryman had a house in Desertegney near Buncrana where his mother was from.

He was found by a motorist on Sunday when he was out cycling on the Pinch Road between Desertegney and Clonmany which is popular with cyclists.

Professor Johnston was regarded as one of the world's leading cancer researchers.

He joined Queen’s University in 1996 as Professor of Oncology, later leading the establishment of the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology.

There has been shock in the Buncrana area at the news of his sudden passing.

Local councillor Rena Donaghey said Professor Johnston and his family spent a lot of time in the area and he was well-liked among local people.   

“There is a real sadness there,” she said. “They spent as much time as possible down there. Locals loved him. They said he was a real gentleman and he talked to them as if they were friends. There were no airs and graces with him and you would not know from talking to him that he was a doctor or an intellectual. People in Desertegney are just devastated - really, really saddened because they said he was just a real gentleman in every sense of the word.”

Professor Johnston’s  funeral takes place in Belfast on Thursday with burial in Desertegney Cemetery, Linsfort, Buncrana, at around 5pm .