'Lost for words' | 

Baz Ashmawy ‘overwhelmed with sadness’ as DIY SOS star Johnny Aylward dies of illness

The Kilkenny man died on Monday after a long battle with motor neurone disease.

Baz Asmawy and Johnny Aylward

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

Baz Ashmawy has said that DIY SOS: The Big Build star Johnny Aylward has left a “big void that can never be filled” following his death this week.

The Kilkenny man died on Monday after a long battle with motor neurone disease.

Johnny was diagnosed with the disease in November 2020, discovering that he had the most aggressive form of the illness months later.

Tributes have flowing in for the father of seven online, with DIY SOS host Baz Ashwamy remembering his beloved friend in an emotional Instagram post.

The RTÉ star said he is “overwhelmed with sadness” as he thanked his late pal for their cherished memories together.

Sharing a sweet snap of the two, Baz wrote: “I haven't posted in a while and I'm so sad this is the post I am putting up. I'm a little lost for words after the death of my friend Johnny Aylward after his impossible battle with motor neuron disease.

“I feel overwhelmed with sadness for Lynn, your poor children and all your family and friends because you leave a big void that can never be filled and that adds to the heart ache.

“My deepest sympathies to all your family. A wonderful group of people I just instantly liked, like you. People who have become very close to me. On a personal level, I've had a lot of sad and wonderful days on DIY SOS but this is up there with the worst of them.

“I'm so grateful we became the friends we did. You were a hugely popular man with all the crew and volunteers. That was down to your humour, your dignity, your lust for life, your beautiful singing voice, your love for pints of Heineken and your fowl fucking mouth.

“I'm very bad at goodbyes Johnny so why don't I just say thanks for pestering me every time united lost. Thanks for the slagging. Thanks for the craic.

“Thanks for guilting me into going drinking with you by telling me I had to because you were dying. Thanks for all our chats. Thanks for being my friend. I love ya. I'll miss you and.... I'll see ya later!”

He concluded his post by adding the hashtag “#RIPJohnny”.

Johnny's death notice on RIP.ie reads: “Johnny, peacefully at his residence in the loving care of his loving wife Lynn, with an illness borne with courage and dignity. Predeceased by his father Mikey.

Deeply regretted by his heart broken wife Lynn, mother Minnie, children Kelly, Aaron, Colin, Cian, Aaron (his partner Aoife), Dáire, and Mikey, grandson Fionn, son-in-law David, brothers, sisters, extended family, neighbours and a wide circle of friends. May he rest in peace”.

Johnny will repose in Doyle’s Funeral Home in New Ross from 3pm to 7pm on Wednesday 15 March.

His funeral mass will take place at the Church of The Assumption in Rosbercon at midday on Thursday, followed by a burial in the adjoining cemetery.

The mass will be live streamed for those who cannot attend.

Johnny’s family have asked for donations to be made to the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association in lieu of flowers. A donation box will be placed in both the funeral home and the church.

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