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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2007, 20:16 GMT
Top Irish model dies in hospital
By Diarmaid Fleming
BBC Dublin correspondent

Katy French
Ms French died just a week after her 24th birthday
One of Ireland's top models has died in hospital after taking ill at a house in County Meath last weekend.

Katy French, 24, took ill at the house in Ashbourne in the early hours of Sunday morning.

She is believed to have suffered heart failure and remained in a coma at Our Lady's Hospital in Navan until she died on Thursday afternoon.

A statement from her family said she died in the arms of her sister Jill with her mother and father alongside.

Thanking the hospital staff, they said they were overwhelmed by the messages of support and prayer.

Only a week ago, Katy celebrated her birthday in Dublin with customary extensive tabloid newspaper coverage.

In the space of less than two years, she had become one of Ireland's best-known models and socialites.

Cocaine

Recently, Ms French admitted she had used cocaine, but said she no longer did and warned young people of its dangers.

Gardai are investigating her death, but would not comment on speculation of a drugs link before a post-mortem examination.

Whatever the cause, her death will fuel debate on increasing drug abuse in the Republic, which the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, said last week for the first time is widespread.



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