A leading figure in Northern Ireland’s food industry has been described as a “cherished friend” after dying suddenly at the age of 41.
Shane McArdle, 41, from Co Armagh, was Invest NI’s head of business development for the food and beverage market in the Middle East and Asia.
He has been hailed as a key figure in the local food and drink industry.
He passed away at his home in Lisanally Lane, Armagh on Monday morning. A postmortem was carried out on Tuesday, and it is understood he died from a heart attack.
Invest NI said it had been a “pleasure” to work with Mr McArdle.
“It is with deep regret that we have to announce the sudden passing of our colleague, Shane McArdle,” an Invest NI spokesperson said.
“Many of you across the Food Industry worked with Shane in his role within the Food and Tourism team. He was always a pleasure to work with. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends.”
Shane was also heavily involved with amateur Armagh sports team, Square Wheels Cycling Club. A statement from the club said: “The committee and members of the club extend their deepest condolences to Shane’s family, girlfriend and close friends.
“Our thoughts are with you all at this sad time.”
Shane also had close working ties with Irish food body, Blas Na HEireann. It too paid tribute to the popular figure.
“This morning the Blas team was devastated to hear the shocking news about the sudden passing of our dear friend Shane McArdle,” a statement from the organisation said.
“We were blessed to know Shane for many years thanks to having met him in his role at Invest Northern Ireland where he was enjoying a glittering career, most recently as head of development for the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
“Shane was one of the Blas family and we were honoured to work with him and know him as a much cherished friend. Artie, John, Fallon and everyone on the Blas team wish to take this opportunity to extend our deepest sympathies to Shane’s girlfriend Lauren, his family, colleagues and friends.
“Our thoughts are very much with you at this sad time.”