Family mourns ‘surreal’ death of woman on Mount Kilimanjaro

Majella Duffy (35) fell ill during the charity climb in memory of her late father

Majella Duffy (35) was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in memory of her father who died of a heart attack.

Majella Duffy (35) was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in memory of her father who died of a heart attack.


The death of a 35-year-old Irish woman on a charity climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in memory of her late father was described as “surreal” by a priest at her funeral Mass.

Canon Michael Leamy said locals in Rathcormac, Co Cork, who recently attended a charity coffee morning in aid of Majella Duffy’s climb could never have anticipated that she would become ill and lose her life on the trip.

“We all know where we were when the news of Majella’s death came to us. It is not something we are likely to forget,” he told mourners at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Rathcormac on Saturday.

“It is not long ago on the 23rd of April that family, neighbours and friends attended the coffee morning to raise funds for the Irish Heart Foundation. None of us who called that day could have envisaged what is taking place here today. All who supported the many fundraising events that Majella was involved in organising no doubt feel the same today.”

Canon Leamy said Ms Duffy was a very independent and caring person who had a positive outlook on life. The congregation heard that she decided to undertake the charity climb in memory of her father, Mike, who died of a heart attack, aged in his 40s.

Irish Heart Foundation

“Majella’s trip to Kilimanjaro was also about family, namely her dad who died in 2001. Her fundraising for the Irish Heart Foundation and her climb was being made in memory of Mike. I have no doubt that the funds raised will be put to good use and will benefit many families.

“A part of the mission of the Irish Heart foundation – is to affect positive change in the lifestyles of Irish people and to achieve better outcomes for those affected by heart disease and stroke. Majella over the past four or five years, through her dedication to fitness lived that mission.”

Canon Leamy said that Ms Duffy and her mother Bernie were exceptionally close and were as much like sisters as mother and daughter. The congregation also heard of her love of dogs and baking. A photograph of her two dogs Bo the Huskie and Jacob the Boxer were brought to the altar as part of the offertory gifts.

Canon Leamy added that Ms Duffy was “great company and full of life”.

“She worked hard and set her goals. For Majella things were black and white. She was straight to the point as you know. She was kind and caring with a positive outlook on life.”

Ms Duffy was an employee of Laya Healthcare in Little Island, Cork. It is understood that she started to feel unwell when she was at an altitude of 4,000m on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania on July 14th. She was attended to at the scene by a doctor but died.

She is survived by her mother Bernie, her stepfather Seamus, stepsister, stepbrother and her grandmother Mary with whom she had a close relationship.