Boxer Barry McGuigan’s actress daughter Danika dead at 33 after brief battle with cancer


The daughter of boxer Barry McGuigan, Danika, has died aged 33, the family confirmed today.

In a statement, they said actress Danika McGuigan, also known as Nika, passed this week following a short battle with cancer.

She died on Tuesday 23 July surrounded by family.

The family said they were devastated by her death, with the message distributed by the actors’ agency in Dublin, The Agency.

‘It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of our beautiful daughter and sister, Danika ‘Nika’ McGuigan,’ their statement read on Wednesday.

‘After a brief but brave battle against cancer, Nika passed away peacefully in the early hours of Tuesday 23rd July, surrounded by her loving family.

‘As a family we are devastated and ask for complete privacy during this difficult period to allow us to grieve for our Nika.

‘The McGuigan family.’

The actress played opposite Rooney Mara in the screen adaptation of Sebastian Barry’s novel, The Secret Scripture.

She recently completed filming Wildfire, and starred alongside Seána Kerslake in the RTÉ series Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope.

Retired boxer Barry shares Nika with wife Sandra, the two also having boys Shane, Jake and Blane.

The 58-year-old hung up his gloves in 1989 and was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2000.

In a Times article from 2005, it revealed Danika was first diagnosed with leukaemia when she was 11 years old.

‘I can’t tell you how terrified I was, seeing her go through all this,’ he said at the time, as he continued: ‘Until that moment, I’d always considered myself one of these people who can deal with the problems life can throw at you.

‘But when this happened I felt completely emasculated. It was like our roles were reversed: this time it was my little girl who was the fighter. All I could do was sit and watch. And God, did she fight. All the pain, all the suffering. I was so proud of her. And when she started losing her hair, sure she was upset, but she put on a really brave face. Watching her pull through was so humbling.’

Danika added of her battle as a child, citing her father’s spirit as a massive inspiration for her in pulling through and getting the all clear as a child.

‘When I got leukaemia I found myself applying that same mental approach,’ she said of dad Barry.

‘It was something we all applied in our family, because I’m sure the news of my leukaemia hit them hard. Until my diagnosis, cancer has been this huge bad thing in our family, because my dad’s father and my mum’s father died of it. They were both quite young.

‘But I got the all-clear in 1999. I know how lucky I am and I know there’s been one figure who, throughout, has been a huge inspiration to me. That’s my dad.’


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