By Andrew Atkinson

Derby winning Jockey Pat Smullen has died at the age of 43.

Horse Racing Ireland said that Smullen, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2018, died at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin on September 15.

Smullen, nine times Irish champion jockey, announced his retirement from racing in May 2019 after completing treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Smullen, who won the Derby at Epsom in 2016 on Dermot Weld trained Harzand, also won the Irish Derby riding Grey Swallow in 2004 and Harzand in 2016.

During a successful career, Smullen won the Irish 1,000 Guineas twice riding Nightime and Bethrah, the Irish Oaks riding Covert Love and the Irish St Leger four consecutive years on Vinnie Roe.

Classic race victories for Weld in Britain included the 2,000 Guineas on Refuse To Bend, the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot with Rite Of Passage, and the Champion Stakes on Fascinating Rock.

A legends race he organised raised more than 2.5m euros (£2.3m) for pancreatic cancer trials and research.

Retired jockey Sir Anthony McCoy said: “Pat Sullen was an amazing man a special person and great friend to us all.”

HRI chief executive Brian Kavanagh said: “Pat Smullen was one of Irish racing’s brightest stars, a nine-time champion, but his achievements in the saddle pale in comparison to his qualities out of it. An inspiration to us all, his legacy is large.”

A British Horseracing Authority statement said his death was devastating news.

“He will forever be remembered as one of the greats – not only at home in Ireland, but here in Britain and across the racing world,” it said.

The President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, expressed his “deep sadness” and said the jockey’s “remarkable performances at home and abroad brought joy to so many.”

Smullen leaves behind his wife, Frances, and their three children Hannah, Paddy and Sarah.