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08th May 2018

‘I’m heartbroken’: Dermot Bannon shares tribute to Room To Improve’s Michael Stokes

'He taught me so many things about life.'

Anna O'Rourke

'I’m heartbroken': Dermot Bannon shares tribute to Room To Improve's Michael Stokes

Dermot Bannon has shared a tribute to Room To Improve‘s Michael Stokes.

The teenager captured the nation’s hearts when he appeared on the RTÉ show in 2016 alongside his former teacher and foster parent Ann Higgins and her husband Barry.

He passed away over the weekend after what’s being described as a tragic accident.

Taking to Instagram today, Dermot wrote that it had been a privilege to know the Michael, “an amazing young man.”

What a privilege to have known this amazing young man

A post shared by Dermot Bannon (@dermotbannon) on

“I’m heartbroken for Ann, Barry, his parents, his family, and anyone who knew him,” Dermot told RTÉ today.

“Michael was such a big character with a huge heart filled with fun, joy and excitement. He leaves a very big void.

“I saw how he touched so many lives, those he knew and the many he never met.

“He taught me so many things about life but most of all, don’t get caught up in all the things you can’t do or have no control over, enjoy and do your best with the things you can.”

The architect was tasked with making Anne and Barry’s home in Malahide in Dublin more accessible for Michael, who was in a wheelchair.

He would visit Malahide for some short breaks away from residential accommodation and later moved in with Ann and Barry full time, and they became his foster parents.

Speaking about the renovations to the house at the time, Michael said;

“I have my own bed, I have my own desk. I love everything, everything is at my level.”

Among the others who remembered Michael today was Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy.

A post shared by Ryan Tubridy (@instatubridy) on

“I post this with a heavy heart as the magic whirlwind, Michael Stokes, died on Saturday aged 15.

“He was an unforgettable soul and we are all so sad today. Thinking of Ann, Barry and all Michael’s family and friends.

“The world is that bit diminished without him.”