Lyra McKee's mother Joan Lawrie passed away just weeks before the first anniversary of her daughter's death.
Joan Lawrie, mother to the murdered journalist Lyra McKee, died on March 10 in the hospital according to her family.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that Nichola McKee Corner, Lyra’s older sister, confirmed the death of their beloved mother in a social media post.
Nichola wrote: “It is with the greatest sadness that I share this. My mother, Joan Lawrie, passed away peacefully in hospital on 10th March.
“She is now at peace with her beloved daughter Lyra McKee.”
Nichola added: “The b******* who murdered my baby sister should also be tried for the murder of my mother – they killed her the day they killed her precious baby girl,” she said.
“Mom, give our darling Lyra a huge hug and a million kisses from us. Love you both forever and always.
“My heart is comforted knowing that you are together again. Always in my heart. Love you Mom xoxoxoxo.”
Another relative shared this post on Twitter:
My wee Mother In Law, passed away last night of a broken heart. Unable to live without her baby Lyra 😢 My Wee mother in law whom I loved with all my heart, I Will love you to beyond eternity. Mother and daughter rest in forever peace. #Lyramckee #joanmckee 💔💔💔 pic.twitter.com/S0qDNwQXkb— Nioiclín (@NioiclinAoidh) March 11, 2020
ITV reports that the family's legal representative Niall Ó’Murchú said that Joan's funeral will remain strictly private to the family.
Lyra McKee was shot and killed while observing an outbreak of violence in Creggan, Co Derry on April 18, 2019. The New IRA later claimed responsibility for the 29-year-old journalist and LGBT activist’s death. 52-year-old Paul McIntyre was recently charged for McKee’s murder; he denies all the charges and was recently granted bail.
Lyra had moved from Belfast to Derry to live with her girlfriend Sara Canning shortly before her death but regularly returned to Belfast to check in on her mother, who was reportedly disabled.
In 2014, McKee, who was 24-years-old at the time, published “Letter to my 14-year-old self” in which she recounted her journey as coming out as gay. In one part, she recalls coming out to her mother: “You will be sobbing and shaking and she will be frightened because she doesn’t know what’s wrong. . . . You have to tell her because you’ve met someone you like and you can’t live with the guilt any more.
“You can’t get the words out so she says it: ‘Are you gay?’ And you will say, ‘Yes Mummy, I’m so sorry.’ And instead of getting mad, she will reply ‘Thank God you’re not pregnant.’”
Ireland's Tánaiste Simon Coveney offered his condolences in a statement: “Joan Lawrie was a mother who raised a beautiful family. They were her world and last April that world was turned upside down with the brutal murder of Joan’s daughter, Lyra McKee.
“I met Joan alongside President Higgins, the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister in the side chapel of St Anne’s Cathedral and she told us all she had 'lost her baby.' It is a moment I will never forget. All of our hearts broke for an innocent young woman and her innocent mother and family.
“I have gotten to know Joan’s daughter Nicola in the last year and I would like to send my condolences to her and the entire family at the passing of Joan.”
Coveney urged anyone with information regarding McKee's death to reach out to the PSNI.
The Center for Investigative Journalism, where Lyra McKee trained, said in a tweet that Lawrie had recently attended the launch of a bursary in Lyra's memory:
We're very sorry to hear about the death of Joan Lawrie, Lyra McKee's mother, who died last night. Despite her illness she turned up to the launch event for Lyra McKee bursaries in Belfast last month, and was a wonderful presence. Our condolences to family and friends.— CIJ (@cijournalism) March 11, 2020
Suzanne Breen, a political journalist with The Belfast Telegraph, said "two people were effectively killed by one shot that night in Derry:"
Lyra McKee's mother has died just weeks before the 1st anniversary of her daughter's murder. Joan's heart was broken & it couldn't be fixed. Two people were effectively killed by one shot that night in Derry. Shame on those who brought death & destruction into this family's life. pic.twitter.com/c1XQnqEvK1— Suzanne Breen (@SuzyJourno) March 11, 2020
An anthology of McKee's work, ‘Lyra McKee in her own words: Lost, Found, Remembered,' is set to be published on April 2.