Tributes after 'gentle-natured' Irishman who went missing in Los Angeles is found dead

Tributes after 'gentle-natured' Irishman who went missing in Los Angeles is found dead

TRIBUTES have been paid to an Irishman who passed away in Los Angeles, California recently.

Friends of Gary Reilly, 28, had appealed this week for information on his whereabouts after he had gone missing.

A social media campaign said the Meath native had last been seen on a bus travelling from Bakersfield to LA on May 3.

However, a report from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner has now revealed that Mr Reilly passed away on May 5.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Mr Reilly's body was discovered in an apartment on that date, however his name was not initially released.

The Irish Immigrant Pastoral Center revealed on May 11 that Mr Reilly's family had confirmed he had been located and thanked everyone who assisted in the search.

'Nicest gentleman'

Tributes have since been paid to Mr Reilly, including from his former football club in Meath, Ballinlough GFC, who described his as a 'gentle-natured and fun-loving man'.

"Gary Reilly was one of the nicest gentlemen you could ever meet, the only son to wonderful parents and adored brother and uncle to his sister Suzanna and her children," the club posted on social media.

"Gary's sporting life followed the same path as those others we lost far too soon, excelling at underage football, hurling and handball before making the step up to adult level and making his mark there too."

"A tall, strong imposing figure on the field belied the gentle-natured and fun-loving man that was Gary," it added.

"He was a great man for a chat and a bit of craic, and with a wanderlust for life he was equally comfortable amongst strangers as he was friends, of which he had many.

"There are no words to describe the grief that those friends and his family are feeling at this desperately sad time and we can only pray that somehow we will once again lift ourselves up off our knees, and in time we will be able to remember and cherish all the good times we had with Gary."

Meanwhile, Mr Reilly's former school, Ballinlough National School, where his mother taught, has opened a book of condolence.

"Our school community has been left heartbroken by the tragic and untimely passing of our past pupil Gary Reilly," said a statement on Facebook.

"Gary was the son of our vice-principal, teacher, colleague and friend, Carmel Reilly.

"Gary will be fondly remembered by all of us at Ballinlough National School and the extended school community.

"We ask you to keep Carmel, Kevin and Susanna and the extended Reilly family in your thoughts and prayers.

"We thank everyone who has offered condolences and messages of support to the school this week.

"These messages have been passed on to Carmel and her family and they have been a great comfort to us all.

"The Book of Condolences will remain open next week should anyone still wish to sign it."

'Loss felt by many'

Another of Mr Reilly's former clubs, St Brigids GFC from Ballinacree, said he was 'one of the nicest lads you could come across'.

"We extend our deepest sympathies to the family & many friends of Gary Reilly,” they posted on Twitter.

"Gary played with our underage set up as St Oliver’s & was a talented player.

"He was also one of the nicest lads you could come across & his loss will be felt by so many.

"Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam."

Elsewhere, Mr Reilly's former soccer club, Oldcastle United FC, held a minute's silence in his memory ahead of their game with Robinstown today.