Pat Smullen in his riding days as a nine-time champion jockey
President Michael D Higgins has led tributes to Offaly man and nine-time champion Irish flat jockey Pat Smullen who has died at the age of 43.
The former stable jockey of Dermot Weld was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2018 and underwent a number of surgeries and treatments.
He passed away on Tuesday evening in St. Vincent's Hospital. He is survived by his loving wife Frances Crowley and their three children, Hannah, Sarah and Paddy.
Pat was a nine-time champion Irish flat jockey and won 12 European classics, including the Epsom Derby. He claimed the 2016 Epsom and Irish Derbies aboard Harzand for friend and former boss Dermot Weld.
Pat was the top flat jockey in Ireland until his untimely retirement in 2018.
In 2019, he spearheaded a fundraising campaign for pancreatic cancer research to help others in his position. The campaign raised almost €3 million and included a champions race at the Curragh featuring the likes of Ruby Walsh and AP McCoy.
Funeral arrangements later.
Tributes have been flooding in from across the world and you can read just a sample below:
President Higgins has expressed his deep sadness at the untimely death of champion jockey Pat Smullen, saying his remarkable performances at home and abroad brought joy to so many.— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) September 15, 2020
The President conveys his sincere condolences to his family, wife and children.
This interview with Pat Smullen is among the most memorable moments we ever had on #RTERacing as he modestly described his bravery and discussed raising millions in The Pat Smullen Champions Race For Cancer Trials. RIP to an Irish racing great.pic.twitter.com/B3irBtXwnQ— RTÉ Racing (@RTEracing) September 15, 2020
I could never get my head around how Pat Smullen coped with what befell him in his prime. What he achieved throughout his illness was nothing short of incredible. Asidefrom being a world-class rider, that's how I'll remember him most. Beyond inspirational. Sleep well PJ Smullen.— Johnny Ward (@Ui_Maine) September 15, 2020
I am sad now this evening with the news of Pat Smullen , my thoughts and love are with him & his family .. what a great man .. a lovely man , an Irish man , & one of the finest jockeys the sport has even seen ... May he be at peace now ..— Hector (@hectorirl) September 15, 2020
Tonight Rhode Mourns the Loss Of One Of Its Finest Sons Pat Smullen. Our Sincere sympathy to the Smullen & Extended Families, Colleagues and Friends on the loss of a through Legend.— Rhode GAA (@RhodeGAA) September 15, 2020
Sleep Easy Pat pic.twitter.com/mVfxWsfduT
I never saw courage like this - Pat Smullen was a truly special man. pic.twitter.com/xGfySKRzwd— Nick Luck (@nickluck) September 15, 2020
Heartbroken to be reporting this. The planet is a worse place for this man's departure. Pat Smullen was one of the most decent human beings I've had the honour to meet. He has been an inspiration over the past 2 1/2 years. Thoughts with Frances & their kids Hannah, Paddy & Sarah. https://t.co/BxNPh0vzv3— Richard Forristal (@R_Forristal) September 15, 2020
Walked off the field tonight after a brilliant u20 hurling match to hear that Pat Smullen had died. 11 years ago today my late wife Edel also passed away at just 41. Both beautiful, decent & kind people. So sorry Frances, Hannah, Paddy & Sarah. Rest in Peace Pat.— Michael Duignan (@DuignanMichael) September 15, 2020
Such dreadful news. This is a lovely way to remember nine times champion jockey, Pat Smullen, who has passed away after a long & courageous battle with cancer. Only 43. One of our great sportsmen and a lovely man to meet. Deepest sympathy to Frances, children & the Smullen's. pic.twitter.com/qn4E3sckfr— Des Cahill (@sportsdes) September 15, 2020
In the midst of his own personal cancer battle Pat Smullen made sure enough funds were raised to offer future cancer sufferers a greater chance to survive this awful disease. That is Pat’s greatest legacy. My deepest sympathies to Frances and family. It is just the saddest news.— Denis Kirwan (@deniskirwan) September 15, 2020
It is so sad to hear of Pat Smullen’s passing he was an unbelievable inspiration to us all, an amazing Father, Husband, Friend & Jockey He will be so sadly missed our thoughts and prayers are with Frances, Hannah, Paddy, Sarah and all of his Family RIP— Barry Geraghty (@BarryJGeraghty) September 16, 2020
Pat Smullen wasn’t just a legend of Irish sport, he was a hero to anyone who had faced times so hard they thought they couldn’t get through it. RIP Pat. Honoured to have had the chance to spend even a small amount of time in his company. https://t.co/vjldc5fXmG— Jarlath Regan (@Jarlath) September 15, 2020
Pat Smullen was an icon of Racing, a brilliant Jockey & most importantly a gentleman— Emmet Kennedy (@RadioEmmet) September 15, 2020
He always made himself available for fans & was incredibly generous with his time when interviewing him
Cancer is the worst, but Pat fought bravely
Racing has lost a great man
God rest him pic.twitter.com/BjyYPSx9TM
Saddened to learn of the untimely passing of the great Pat Smullen. My sincere sympathies to his family, friends and the horse racing community who will be devastated by this loss. pic.twitter.com/eutR1u4rwK— Michael Creed TD (@creedcnw) September 15, 2020
As sad a night as we’ve had in the sport of Horse Racing For a long long time Rest In Peace Pat Smullen privileged to have known and speak to you a man that defined the word Gentleman #RIPPatSmullen— George McDonagh (@georgemcdonagh) September 15, 2020
We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Pat Smullen. Forever in Epsom and Derby History after his victory on Harzand in 2016. Our thoughts and condolences to his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/T7Tk7UFmBh— Epsom Downs Racecourse (@EpsomRacecourse) September 15, 2020
So sad to hear of the passing of Pat Smullen. A gentleman from head to toe, legend on and off the track. Deepest sympathies to his extended family. May he rest in peace.— Robbie "Puppy" Power (@Robbie_Power_) September 15, 2020