There are few things that take your breath away with greater certainty than a life taken in its prime.
Pat Smullen’s illness was a cruel blow for one of the most decent people in sport. He faced his illness with a sense of having to do what needed to be done.
A year ago he revealed at the Irish Champions Weekend that while they had thought they were getting ahead of it that there had been a setback.
Pancreatic cancer is an evil bastard of a thing. It creeps up on you with little evidence until its too late.
And yet there was a hope that, if for no other reason than it would be the fair thing, that this might have ended differently.
It didn’t. On Tuesday night Pat Smullen passed away. He was a decent man with a rare talent for finding the extra something that turned very good horses into great ones. He was Irish Champion Jockey a total of nine times. He rode nine Classic winners in ireland and two more in England.
His actions after his diagnosis brought him to further public attention and to date his charitable fundraising has generated €2.5 million to aid research into the disease that took him.
The whole sport has been in mourning since the news landed like a heavy weight on all our sporting lives.
A rare talent, a decent man. He will be sadly missed but long remembered.