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A former Miss Bikini Ireland has died ‘expectedly’ aged 32, prompting an outpouring of tributes.
Judy Fitzgerald from Co Limerick also known for her appearance on First Dates Ireland last year, after she featured on the programme last March.
She passed away on Saturday according to a death notice, which said she will be ‘sadly missed by her heartbroken parents Liam and Imelda, sister Lucy, brother William, brother-in-law Pedro’.
The former Miss Bikini Ireland, who was crowned in 2014, was a qualified fitness instructor working to pursue a career in the fitness modelling industry.
She was regularly featured in national newspapers, as well as gracing the cover of multiple glossy magazines.
Judy Fitzgerald, who has died unexpectedly aged 32, is survived by her family as well as a large circle of friends (pictured while appearing on First Dates Ireland
And Judy, who had earned a nursing degree from University College Cork and post graduate Midwifery degree from the University of Limerick, worked as a frontline midwife during the Covid 19 pandemic.
She enjoyed considerable success throughout her varied career, representing Ireland in beauty pageants around the world, as well as working as a model.
Judy famously took to the catwalk in 2015 during that year’s New York Fashion Week, during which she was invited by event organisers to interview participating designers about their collections, which she described as a ‘dream come true’.
When it came to her work in the fitness industry, she helped others achieve their fitness goals, providing personalised workout and diet plans via her website and fitness app ‘Judy FitZ Fitness, Get Fit with Fitz’ providing.
According to Judy, she wanted to ’empower’ clients to ‘change their lives for the better’, and ‘become the best version of themselves’ by reaching their goals.
Inspiring people was a motivating factor for Judy, who said that for her, there is ‘no better feeling’ than helping people ‘feel about good themselves both inside and out’.
She was an advocate of positive mental attitude through exercise and a mental health ambassador.
Competing as a fitness model, Judy was crowned overall European Fitness Model Champion 2019, and she shared her successes with her thousands of social media followers on Facebook, TikTok and Instagram.
Judy, pictured with First Dates maitre d’ Mateo Saina, was known for modelling success. She was also recognised as a mental health ambassador and advocate who enjoyed inspiring people to feel better about themselves
Tributes have poured in from fans, friends, and colleagues.
Venera Tabakin, a dress designer at the Cannes Film Festival, shared images of herself with Judy, writing: ‘RIP Judy Fitzgerald, my little model and friend, Miss Bikini Ireland and Celebrity of Ireland.’
Fellow pageant contestant Mary Mullally wrote: ‘Judy Fitzgerald our Miss Bikini Ireland 2014, has sadly gained her wings.
‘She will be truly missed in the modeling and beauty industry & community.’
Actor Jenny Dixon, who formerly appeared on Fair City, shared an online tribute to Judy.
Writing on behalf of her and her husband actor Tom Neville, Jenny said: ‘So so sad to learn of Judy’s passing.
Tribute have poured in for the much-missed star, with friends saying Judy (pictured) was ‘bubbly, fun, smiley, kind, beautiful’
‘She will be missed by all very much. Our sincerest sympathy to the Fitzgerald family and friends. May she (Judy) Rest in Peace.’
And friend Nicola Hoey described Judy as a ‘bubbly, fun, smiley, kind, beautiful Polly Pocket friend’.
In a tribute to the 32-year-old, she wrote: ‘Sadly our beautiful friend flew to heaven…along with her family and friends, a huge community are heartbroken, devastated, and in utter shock.’
There will be a requiem mass St Nessan’s Church, Raheen on May 1 at 12pm, with burial afterwards in Castlemungret Cemetery.
Judy is survived by her parents Liam and Imelda, sister Lucy, brother William, brother-in-Law Pedro. She is also survived by her large circle of friends.