Michelle Dockery set her heartbreak over the death of fiancé John Dineen aside for a moment to publicly thank fans for their support. The Downton Abbey star is devastated following her 34-year-old love's passing on Sunday morning (Dec. 13).
A spokesperson for the family has requested privacy in a statement released to the press: "The family is very grateful for the support and kindness they have received but would kindly request that they are left to grieve in private."
John reportedly died in Marymount Hospital in Cork, Ireland, on Sunday after being "ill for some time." No further details have been released, but the Irish Examiner reports that a private funeral service will take place on Wednesday.
Michelle began dating John, who was in the financial industry, in September 2013 after being introduced by their mutual friend Allen Leach, who played chauffeur Tom Branson in the popular show. The couple kept their relationship out of the spotlight, but were understood to have become engaged earlier in the year.
Reports in February said that Michelle, who plays straight-talking Lady Mary Crawley in the period drama, broke the news to her fellow cast members by debuting a beautiful diamond ring.
"She's over the moon and was showing it off to all of the cast and crew," a source told The Sun in February. "It's wonderful news and everyone is delighted. She and John make a lovely couple."
Michelle rarely spoke about her personal life in interviews, but once admitted, "I have a wonderful man in my life from Ireland. We were introduced by Allen Leech. That's all you need to know."
The couple had been pictured together at the Venice Film Festival, Wimbledon and at polo's Cartier Queen's Cup.
A friend of John also said, "He is very private and softly spoken but he has really been taken by Michelle. Friends have joked that they must have also been drawn together because of their Irish connections."
John was raised in Waterfall, Cork, and had a masters degree. He worked as a senior director in FTI Consulting in London.