Electric Picnic fan death described as a ‘tragedy’ by transplant association

Phil McConnell (20) received a heart transplant as a baby in the UK

Phil McConnell (20), from Malahide, Co Dublin, who  died  on Saturday morning in Portlaoise General Hospital

Phil McConnell (20), from Malahide, Co Dublin, who died on Saturday morning in Portlaoise General Hospital

 

The death of a music fan who received a heart transplant as a baby has been described as a “absolute tragedy” by the association which represents transplant survivors.

Phil McConnell (20), from Malahide in Co Dublin, was taken to hospital in the early hours of Saturday morning having collapsed at one of the campsites at the Electric Picnic festival in Stradbally, Co Laois.

Medical personnel were called at 1am but he died at 1.45am on Saturday morning in Portlaoise General Hospital.

A postmortem will be carried out today at the hospital to determine the cause of death.

A statement from festival promoters Festival Republic stated: “The medics confirmed he had a previous cardiac history.

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with the deceased’s family and his friends at this very sad time. A full investigation is under way.”

Mr McConnell was a student at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and a past-pupil of Belvedere College.

He also worked at the Grand Hotel in Malahide. He only got a ticket to the Electric Picnic at the last minute.

The chairman of the Irish Heart and Lung Transplant Association Brendan Gilligan said Mr McConnell had received a heart transplant as a one-year-old baby in the UK.

“It was wonderful that he had 19 years with a transplant, but we in the transplant community are really saddened by his passing.

“He had a very fruitful active life after this transplant. It was an absolutely tragedy that he died so young,” he said.


Tributes
Tributes have been paid on Twitter to Mr McConnell with one friend posting: “RIP Phil McConnell? Even in the few times I met you it was clear you were unbelievably nice and a complete legend xx.”.

Another wrote: “A very sad day. Spare a thought and prayer for Phil McConnell and his family. 20 years old and such a wonderful young man. Rest in peace.”

Drug warning
Meanwhile, Electric Picnic organisers warned concert-goers of the hazards of drug-taking on the site.

They tweeted to the 35,000 fans at the event in Stradbally: “There may be some potentially dodgy ‘Blue Ghosts/Casper’ pills circulating online. We urge you Picnickers to be very careful, stay safe.”

Blue Ghost and Casper are both forms of ecstasy.