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The Dubliners' last original member Barney McKenna dies, aged 72

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Barney McKenna from Irish folk group The Dubliners

© PA Images

Barney McKenna has died, aged 72.

The banjo player was the last original member of Irish folk band The Dubliners.

The musician is said to have passed away on Thursday (April 5) "while having a morning cup of tea" at his Howth home, reports AP.

The band's current singer Eamonn Campbell said: "What a lovely way to go."

Irish classical guitarist Michael Howard - who was with McKenna when he died - explained: "All of a sudden Barney's head dropped down to his chest. It looked as if he'd nodded off.

"The comfort that I take from it is, he passed away very peacefully sitting at his own breakfast table having a quiet cup of tea and a chat."

McKenna played with the band for 50 years after they formed in 1962 in Dublin pub O'Donoghue's.

Fellow original members Ronnie Drew, Ciaran Bourke and Luke Kelly passed away in 2008, 1988 and 1984 respectively.

McKenna had recently completed a UK tour with the group's current lineup, and performed at a funeral in Dublin earlier this week.

He is survived by his partner Tina, sister Marie and brother Sean. His wife Joka died 28 years ago.

The Dubliners were presented with a 'Lifetime Achievement' prize at BBC Radio 2's Folk Awards earlier this year.

Watch The Dubliners perform 'Dirty Old Town' below:

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