Music fans in mourning for George Donaldson

Celtic Thunder fans and the world of music in general are in mourning tonight following the death of George Donaldson.

George Donaldson

The Celtic Thunder star suffered a massive heart attack yesterday at his home in Glasgow. He was 46.

Donaldson has a unique place in the hearts of Celtic Thunder fans. He was there from the start and was seen as the rock on which the group was built. He was older than the other band members, married with a family and so more mature and settled.

He was Mr Dependable and the younger members looked up to him for help and for guidance. Something his generous nature was always happy to give.

That guidance was particularly helpful to younger members like Damian McGinty.  Damian said on Twitter: “There are no words that can express my Sadness and Sorrow at the shock Death of my friend George D”.

Success came late for George

Worldwide success with Celtic Thunder came relatively late for George and it made him appreciate it all the more. George didn’t have it easy in his early life. He was from a family of nine children and was brought up in a tough area in the east end of Glasgow.

He inherited his love of music from his father but was a self-taught musician. He had to do it all the hard way.

He quickly established himself as one of Scotland’s best singer songwriters on the local folk circuit and became one of the main performers at his beloved Jinty McGinty’s club in Glasgow.

He was well into his late 30s when he heard about auditions for an unusual new band being put together by Sharon Browne. The idea was to bring together the best young singers from Celtic backgrounds and then mould them into a tight unit that fused traditional folk with classic pop to produce something totally new and different and magical.

George being a modest sort of man never really expected to be selected but to his great surprise he sailed through the auditions. He became one of the mainstays of the band as it went from success to stupendous success, as hit record followed hit record and sell out tours gave way to even bigger and more spectacular shows.

The sense of surprise never really left George though. He sometimes gave the impression that he couldn’t believe all this was happening to him…a boy from the east end of Glasgow.

His success was no surprise to his fans though. They admired his talent, of course, but more importantly, they loved his warmth and generosity, together with the engaging down to earth attitude that never left him.

Even as Celtic Thunder were selling out major venues across the world, George was still happy to get up and perform in front of a handful of people at Jinty’s as he had always done. And he always had time to chat and pose for pictures with fans.

Celtic Thunder are an unusual band in that they seem to have a unique relationship with their fans… together they form something of an extended family. Tonight that family is in mourning having lost a much loved member.

RIP George Donaldson.

George Donaldson page
Surprise success

George Donaldson videos
Irish Music Daily tribute to George Donaldson
Music stars pay tribute to George Donaldson
Singers main page

Written by Patrick Kehoe

Patrick Kehoe

Pat Kehoe is a writer for Irish Music Daily.
His favourite Irish music bands are the Dubliners and Planxty
You can follow him on

Patrick Kehoe

Pat Kehoe is a writer for Irish Music Daily. His favourite Irish music bands are the Dubliners and Planxty You can follow him on

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11 Responses

  1. Nanette Blastow says:

    My deepest condolences to his family and the CT family. Heaven has gained an amazing Angel with a voice that all the Angels will sing with now.. R.I.P George you will be truly missed

  2. Katherine Stephenson says:

    My heart just shattered into a million unfixable pieces…. Devastation.. Prayers and blessings to his family.

  3. maureen dwyer says:

    my prayers go out to his family and to the guys of Celtic Thunder
    i love there music and the harmony
    i hope they can continue to perform together
    he would like that
    RIP george you will be missed

  4. Linda Fitzgerald says:

    I am at a loss for words, so very shocked at the loss of an amazing man at such a very young age. A terrible loss for his family and friends and fellow musicians. He had an amazing voice and Irish music will never be the same without him…He will be missed terribly by all…..Rest dear George and sing with the Angels…..

  5. Lillian Finn says:

    Was shocked to hear of George passing. My sympathy to his family. George will be sorely missed!

  6. My deepest condolences to the family of George – to his Celtic Thunder family – you have a new Guardian Angel

  7. Sharon Keenan Moffit says:

    His music and story telling will live on in my memories and heart, love ya

  8. Jane Hollon says:

    I’ve been in tears since I heard the news. George was an amazing singer and seemed to have a heart of gold. Sending prayers to his family and to the Celtic Thunder family.

  9. JustJoan308 says:

    Thank you Pat Kehoe for so correctly and lovingly writing about George. In the 7 yrs of hearing him sing, having him chat, sign and hug, he became more family to us as well. Devastated for Carrie and Miss Sarah. God’s prayers for strength, healing of broken hearts, and comfort to get through this most unbelievable loss. Shattered, but surely, George,one of God’s musical angels, has been called home to play now for Him. NNGB

  10. candy aurand says:

    So sad to learn of our loss of this warm, talented man. I will miss him and his music very much. Condolences to his family and all those close to him. RIP George.

  11. Mary Brandenburg says:

    I was stunned when I logged onto FB this afternoon and all the posts about George’s passing. My thoughts and prayers go to his family and also to all the members of Celtic Thunder who are also one family. For the fans, George always referred to us as Everybody in Celtic Thunder Land. Well, that land has lost a gentle, kind and loving man who has left us with many wonderful memories.

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