AN IRISH father-of-two has died on Mount Everest while attempting to scale the summit of the world's highest peak.
Kevin Hynes, 56, who was originally from Co. Galway but worked in the UK, was climbing the 8,848 metre-tall mountain for the second time on Friday morning when he passed away on its north face in Tibet.
The tragic news was confirmed on Friday evening by 360 Expeditions, who organised the expedition group he was part of.
The climbing company paid tribute to the Irishman as "one of the strongest and most experienced climbers on our team".
In a statement on Facebook, 360 Expeditions added: "On the 22 May, Kevin reached Camp 3 at 8,300m.
"On the 23 May, while our summit climbers were heading higher, Kevin started his descent. He was accompanied by experienced Sherpa, Dawa Sangee, who himself has summited Everest south twice, Everest North and Makalu twice.
"Kevin passed away in his tent at the North Col at 7,000m in the early hours of this morning (Nepali time) of the 24 May.
"His wonderful wife, Bernadette and two children, Erin and James are comforted by all the communication that Kevin sent out from his expedition, letting them know that, 'this was proving the most fun he had had on any one of his expeditions and the team was amazing and that he was loving being with [mountaineer] Rolfe Oostra'."
The Irish Seven Summits adventure group also shared its sympathies with Mr Hynes' family.
"It is with great sadness that we learn today of the death of Galway native Kevin Hynes on Everest," they said.
"Kev (who lived and worked in UK) was on his second expedition to Everest having reached the summit via the Nepal side last year and was attempting the North side this time. His expedition company reported the following earlier today."
The tragic news comes as the search continues for fellow Irish climber and Trinity College Dublin assistant professor Seamus Lawless, who went missing on Mount Everest eight days ago.
The dad-of-one, 39, from Bray in Co. Wicklow, slipped shortly after reaching the summit of Everest for the first time last Thursday morning and may have fallen up to 500 metres.
A GoFundMe page set up to assist the ongoing search operation has raised almost €270,000 from the public towards its goal of €750,000 so far.