Former boxer Barry McGuigan emotionally remembered his “bubbly, happy, happy” daughter Danika ‘Nika’ McGuigan on tonight’s Late Late Show.
anika passed away in July 2019 aged just 33 after a battle with cancer returned, having previously been diagnosed with leukemia as a child.
Barry opened up about his loss on tonight’s show on RTÉ.
Danika worked as an actress and appeared in several television, film and theatre productions including the blockbuster series Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope.
She died surrounded by her family, after going to see the doctor when she didn’t feel right in 2019 – even though blood tests came back clear.
A scan found a large tumour on her liver and large intestine.
“Nika was the sort of, she said that if there’s bad news, I don’t don’t want to hear how bad it is. I just want to know that I’ve got a chance of – that she could get better.
“[The doctor] said, ‘I’m sorry to tell you it’s very bad’. And Nika said, ‘Can I get better?’
“And she shook her head. I remember somebody gripping my throat. I said, ‘You can get better. They told you when you had leukaemia, you couldn’t get better’.”
Barry remembered that the family stayed with Nika until the end.
“We were there every day she tried to be strong,” he recalled.
“She got up and she walked since you walked up and down the corridor a few times and then her organs started to fail.
“And then she lost consciousness on the 17th of July, she sort of went into a coma. And then we were all around her bed when she took her last breath,” he said.
“She knew how much we all loved her.”
He said that his newest grandchild has Danika’s name as her middle name, Mila Nika McGuigan.
“Every time I look at them, I think about her. Yes. And she loved those kids.”
He recalled that when she was first diagnosed with cancer aged 11, Danika “desperately wanted to live”.
“She was an amazing fighter and she loved life and she desperately wanted to live and she wanted to be with her three brothers and with us.
“She got through it and she had two and a half, two years of chemo.”
He recalled his daughter to be “very funny and witty”, with his father’s sense of humour.
“She very talented and very funny and witty, and my father had a great sense of humour. I sadly missed that part. But she was she was a just a great girl. And we had fun and love practical jokes and used to scare the living daylights out of me,” he remembered.
“It was always a great bubbly house full of activity and full of life. And she just was always a very bubbly, happy, happy girl.”