Dec's priest brother Father Dermott Donnelly dies after hospital admission

Father Dermott Donnelly with Ant McPartlin and brother Dec. Credit: NCJM

"Wonderful parish priest" Father Dermott Donnelly has died after being admitted to hospital.

The Stanley, Dipton and Byermoor Catholic Parishes announced the loss of the 55-year-old, who is the brother of television personality Dec, on Friday afternoon (8 July).

Posting on Facebook, the statement read: "It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Father Dermott Donnelly.

"Please remember Father Dermott in your prayers and pray for the repose of his soul. Requiescat in pace."

The sad news was confirmed by the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, who said Father Donnelly's death came "as a great shock to all of us".

Father Dermott Donnelly outside St Michael's ahead of Dec's wedding. Credit: PA Images

Pontop Partnership, which is a partnership of ten Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, said Father Donnelly had been admitted to hospital and was believed to be seriously ill.

The priest conducted his brother Dec's wedding to Ali Astall at St Michael's Church, in Elswick, in 2015.

During his time serving as a priest, he also set up a youth outreach programme called The Youth Village aimed at encouraging young people in the diocese to embrace their faith.

Many tributes have been paid to the "lovely man" and "wonderful parish priest".

Dec said on Twitter the family are "beyond devastated".

When his illness was announced, St Joseph's Church, in Stanley, organised a community prayer session for his welfare. The prayer was due to take place at 6pm and no update has yet been provided.