‘Shock and disbelief’ after Limerick artist’s sudden death

Maria Flannery


Maria Flannery

Stephan Roche, from Tervoe, Clarina, was well-respected in the art community

Stephan Roche, from Tervoe, Clarina, was well-respected in the art community

TRIBUTES have been paid to a Limerick man in his early 30s, described as a “gem of the arts scene”, who died suddenly at the weekend.

Stephan Roche, from Clarina in County Limerick, passed away on Saturday in Galway, where he had been living.

It is thought that he suffered cardiac arrest.

Tributes have been paid online to the artist and curator, who previously worked at the Hunt Museum and Galway Arts Centre.

He was the former chair on the board of directors at Galway artist-run gallery 126.

Announcing the untimely death on social media, the gallery announced that it would remain closed on Wednesday and Thursday to allow staff attend his funeral.

“Stephan made one of the biggest impacts on 126 and on anyone he met - he left 126 in one of its strongest positions ever and went on to support us long after his term as chair came to an end. He will always be in our hearts,” the post read.

Tributes were paid to the hugely popular man, who was also well-known in the Limerick artistic community, but who had been living in Galway in recent years.

Galway-based TULCA festival of visual arts wrote that “Stephan did great work” on the volunteer team.

“His heart, energy and superb wit will be missed at our opening and throughout the festival this year. Our deepest sympathies to the 126 team, his family and friends.”

Notes of sympathy were left for the man’s family on social media.

“I really can't believe we have lost him. I will miss you forever,” wrote one close friend.

Another wrote: “Shock and disbelief were just two words of many that went through my mind when I heard about the passing of Stephan. This talented young man, a curator, painter and writer has left us too soon.”

“Stephan reached out to me upon my own venture back into education with words of wisdom and encouragement I needed regarding my creative future, and continued to check in, as was clearly in his nature to foster and facilitate creativity in others. A terrible loss for our art world.”

The Clarina man went to Crescent College Comprehensive before studying Fine Art Painting at Limerick School of Art and Design. He also studied History of Art and Architecture at UL.

A friend wrote: “Stephen was a gentleman without trying, he will be truly missed by everyone who had the good fortune of meeting him, a beautiful person with such talent.”

Son of the late Patrick Roche, Stephan is survived by his mother Maria, brother Philip and sisters Emily and Aoife.

A cremation service will take place this Thursday at Shannon Crematorium.