| 17.2°C Dublin

‘Greatest Showman’ Irish circus legend Tom Duffy dies aged 92 after surviving cancer and Covid-19

In a tribute from Tom Duffy’s Circus online, the grandfather, born in his parent’s caravan in Limavady, Northern Ireland, in 1929, was described as “a capable and confident horseman and a general all-round acrobat...”

Close

Pictured: Tom Duffy at his Dublin care home in 2020

Pictured: Tom Duffy at his Dublin care home in 2020

Pictured: Tom Duffy at his Dublin care home in 2020

Ireland’s “Greatest Showman” Tom Duffy has died, leaving the circus community in mourning.

Duffy, 92, passed away after surviving cancer twice and overcoming Covid.

In a tribute from Tom Duffy’s Circus online, the grandfather, born in his parent’s caravan in Limavady, Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1929, was described as “a capable and confident horseman and a general all-round acrobat...”

The post added: “He was a showman at heart and never one to shy away from the spotlight, or a microphone.”

He was described as: “The Greatest Showman,” who had died peacefully this week.

In April, 1979, on his 50th birthday, Duffy, his son, David, and wife Gertie, created the Tom Duffy’s Circus that households across Ireland are today familiar with.

The post read: “It has seen many changes and grown from strength-to-strength, becoming one of the largest and most respected circuses in Europe…

“Tom remained on tour for many years through the toughest of times, witnessing world war, the Troubles, fighting cancer, losing his wife Gertie, and embracing the changes and modernisation of a lifestyle and art that can be traced back through his family through the last few centuries.

“Tom Duffy tried and mastered many of the skill sets for an amazing all-round circus star, he was articulate in the ring as ringmaster.

"In recent times ailing health required Tom to step back, a little, and enjoy some comfort in his care home in Dublin, though he would still come and visit when the circus was nearby, and he was often visited by his many friends and family.

“Tom was always a fighter, surviving two bouts of cancer and even catching and recovering from Covid. His strong character and charisma were always part of his larger-than-life persona, a warm welcome would be given to those inside the Big Top when he was there.”

The tribute added that in recent years, the performer had “watched on with pride as his grandsons, Tom and Jamie, stepped up and into the spotlight, following in his footsteps becoming a headlining act.”

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Duffy is survived by son David, daughter-in-law, Stephanie and his two grandsons, Tom and Jamie and brother Freddy.

The late head of the renowned circus family beat cancer twice and also miraculously survived three heart attacks in the weeks after winning his battle with Covid-19 back in 2020.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Top Videos





Available now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Privacy