The family of Lyra McKee have released a statement ahead of her funeral today. The 29-year-old journalist was murdered during riots in Derry last Thursday. The New IRA has admitted responsibility for the attack, according to The Irish News.
In the statement released by the family, they say:
"On Thursday April 18 our beautiful Lyra was taken from us. A daughter, a sister, an aunt, a great-aunt, a partner, a niece, a cousin, and above all, a best friend and confidante to so many of us."
"A friend to all, a gentle innocent soul who wouldn't wish ill on anyone. Such a warm and innocent heart, she was the greatest listener, someone who had time for everyone.
"She was a smart, strong-minded woman who believed passionately in inclusivity, justice and truth. Lyra spoke to and made friends with anybody and everybody, no matter what their background, those of all political views and those with none. This openness, and her desire to bring people together, made her totally apolitical."
The McKee family added: "We would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and love we have witnessed this past few days. It has been of immense solace that Lyra meant so much to so many.
"We ask everyone who knew Lyra to continue her message of positivity and hope, by respecting her memory with dignity and respect. We as a family know that the whole community has been touched by the events of Thursday night and that many are rightly angry.
"However, we would ask that Lyra's life and her personal philosophy are used as an example to us all as we face this tragedy together. Lyra's answer would have been simple, the only way to overcome hatred and intolerance is with love, understanding and kindness.
"We are a private family and would ask as a family that our privacy is respected at this impossibly difficult time. We will, in time, speak to you all, but need space and time in the coming days and weeks to deal with the trauma of Lyra's sudden tragic death. Until that time, we would request that all media contact could be made via our legal representatives."
In a previous statement, Ms McKee's partner, Sara Canning said:
Our hopes and dreams and all of her amazing potential was snuffed out by this single barbaric act.
Our thoughts and condolences are with the friends and family of Lyra McKee today as they celebrate the life of the young journalist. The Union of Students in Ireland have set up a book of condolences in loving memory of Lyra, you can follow the link below to sign.
— Union Of Students In Ireland (@TheUSI) April 23, 2019