Tributes have been paid to a ‘quiet and unassuming angel’ who has died suddenly aged 18.
Ellena Gilrane, who suffered with Muscular Dystrophy from birth, developed a chest infection and died in the critical care unit at Royal Blackburn Hospital on Monday.
Her parents Peter and Gill said ‘tiny’ Ellena’s death has devastated family and friends of the popular teenager.
Peter, of Oakfield Crescent, Oswaldtwistle, said his daughter never let not being able to walk hold her back.
He said Ellena, a childcare and social care student, was on the verge of taking up a work placement and aimed to one day work with children and animals.
The 49-year-old said: “Ellena was very small and weighed only 20kg but she was very strong minded. She had underdeveloped lungs and scoliosis and kyphosis of the spine and had undergone several spinal operations, the last of which was two weeks ago.
“Sadly she had a bad episode with her chest and lungs in Spain last year which nearly took her. And these chest infections have become more frequent and prevalent. On Monday Ellena took a bad turn and died within a couple of hours. She had no more fight in her.”
Paying tribute to Ellena, a former St Mary’s Primary School and Mount Carmel pupil, Peter said she would be missed desperately.
He added: “She liked nothing better than sitting with her aunties and her grandma.
“We are all going to miss her terribly. She was a very quiet person and never wronged anybody, never swore or judged anyone but was also funny and unassuming, loved people and doted on her 20-year-old sister Hannah.”
He added: “She had been looking forward to her work placement immensely and never complained about being in a wheelchair throughout her life. She was just an angel and always saw the good in everybody.”
Ellena was also a member of the Handicapped Children’s Pilgrimage Trust and enjoyed four trips to Lourdes with the group. Her family thanked staff at Royal Blackburn Hospital and said Ellena had a close friend who she grew up with called Rebecca Cockshot and was close to her carer Romi Young.