Irish president Michael D Higgins has led tributes to The Script guitarist Mark Sheehan, who has died following a short illness.
Sheehan, 46 – who formed the band alongside frontman Danny O’Donoghue and drummer Glen Power, died in hospital on Friday.
President Higgins praised The Script’s “originality and excellence” as he honoured the late Breakeven star’s memory.
“All those who knew Mark Sheehan, and those millions more who enjoyed and appreciated his music, will have been deeply shocked to hear of his too-early death,” the president said.
“It was a mark of the originality and excellence that Mark and his bandmates in The Script sought that they saw such success across the world, including six number one albums in the UK and a number three album in the United States – a truly remarkable achievement.
“It was a great honour and a privilege when I had the opportunity of hosting Mark and The Script when they performed at Aras an Uachtarain in 2013 as part of my initiative Glaoch – The President’s Call, which celebrated Irish creativity and its reach and impact across the world.
“Through their music, Mark and The Script have played an outstanding part in continuing and promoting this proud tradition of Irish musical success across the world.
“While Mark will be missed by so many, it is his family who will of course experience the greatest loss. May I extend my deepest sympathies to Mark’s wife Rina, to his children Cameron, Avery and Lil, to his bandmates in The Script, and to all his family and friends.”
The guitarist was married to Rina Sheehan and they had three children together.
A statement on the band’s social media pages earlier announced his death.
“Much loved husband, father, brother, band mate and friend Mark Sheehan passed away today in hospital after a brief illness,” it said.
“The family and group ask fans to respect their privacy at this tragic time.”
The Script were formed in Dublin in 2001.
Their eponymous debut album was released in 2008 and it went to number one in both the UK and Ireland.
It featured hits such as We Cry, Breakeven, and The Man Who Can’t Be Moved, with the latter peaking at number two in the UK singles charts.
The band have released six studio albums and one compilation project, Tales From The Script – Greatest Hits, which dropped in 2021.
Six of these peaked at number one in the UK charts while their third album, Number 3, made it to number two.
Bands such as Arctic Monkeys, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Kings Of Leon, Radiohead, Blur and Muse all also have six number one records to their name, according to the Official Charts.
Paying tribute to Sheehan, fellow Irish rock band Kodaline said in a statement posted to Twitter: “So sorry to hear the passing of Mark Sheehan.
“We had the great fortune of getting to spend time in his company over the years and was always such a lovely man. Deepest condolences to his family and his @thescript brothers.”
Other celebrities were also quick to honour his memory on social media.
In statement posted on Instagram, Irish presenter Laura Whitmore wrote: “Thinking of you all at this time.
“Mark was one of the nicest and most talented men you could meet.”
In June 2013, the late Queen toured the BBC’s Broadcasting House in central London and listened to a live performance by The Script.
At the end, she chatted briefly to lead singer O’Donoghue and when she learnt he was playing the Glastonbury festival, joked about the mud.
The singer replied with a laugh: “You’ve got to bring good wellies.”
Afterwards, Sheehan said when they were told about the royal engagement he thought it was a joke.
“Still today, coming in today, I thought people were playing a joke on us,” he said.
In May 2022, O’Donoghue told the Sunday World that Sheehan had missed the American leg of their greatest hits tour to be with his family.
The Script are scheduled to support the American artist P!nk during her European tour later this year.