Senior city priest dies in Barcelona - LATEST NEWS

A SENIOR Edinburgh priest has died suddenly in Barcelona after seeing Celtic play at the Nou Camp.

The Catholic Church said it was in shock at the death of Monsignor David Gemmell, 54.

The cleric had travelled with thousands of other Celtic fans for Tuesday's Champions League tie.

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He became unwell after a meal in the Catalan city last night with fellow priest, Father Hugh Purcell.

And when he failed to appear for breakfast today, Father Purcell alerted the hotel staff.

When they went to his room, Monsignor Gemmell was found to be dead.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh said: "The cardinal and priests of the archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh were stunned this morning to hear of the sudden death of Right Reverend Monsignor David Gemmell, Administrator of St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh.

"He was on a short break in Barcelona to attend a football match, accompanied by his colleague from the Cathedral, Fr Hugh Purcell.

"After a meal yesterday evening with Fr Purcell he let it be known that he felt unwell but did not need medical help.

"This morning when he did not appear for breakfast Fr Purcell contacted the hotel authorities and Monsignor Gemmell was found dead in his room.

"Mgr Gemmell did have a pre-existing history of heart trouble. There are no further details at this time."

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Sir Tom Farmer and Celtic Football Club today led the tributes to Mgr Gemmell.

Sir Tom said: "I have know David since he became a priest in Edinburgh in 1978 and watched him grow and develop in the priesthood from a young curate to one of the most senior priests in the Archdiocese and the administrator of St Mary's Cathedral.

"David was a great priest who loved his chosen role in life. He was always close to and involved in the lives of his immediate family, and he cared greatly for all those parishioners he came to know in the many parishes he served, feelings which were widely reciprocated. I am pleased I had the opportunity to know him and I mourn his loss."

A spokesperson for Celtic Football Club said: "Clearly, we are stunned by the sudden passing of Monsignor Gemmell, a man who was a great supporter of Celtic and someone well known to the club.

"The thoughts of everyone at Celtic are with Monsignor Gemmell's relatives, friends, colleagues and congregation at this very difficult time."