Legendary jockey and 12-time European Classic winner Pat Smullen dies aged 43

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Irish jockey Pat Smullen has tragically passed away from cancer at the age of 43.

The nine-time champion jockey in Ireland was diagnosed with the disease back in 2018 and had suffered a relapse in recent months.

Smullen retired in 2019 on medical advice, despite wanting to continue in the saddle for longer.

The Racing Post broke the sad news on social media this evening, tweeting: "The Racing Post is sad to report that nine-time Irish champion jockey and 12-time European Classic winner Pat Smullen has died at the age of 43.

"Smullen was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2018 and had suffered a relapse in recent months.

"His family have said that he died this evening in St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin."

Smullen was a 12-time classic winner, who enjoyed one of his best career moments aboard Harzand in the 2016 Investec Derby at Epsom.

"I had hoped to resume my riding career, but I've taken the decision to retire on medical advice," he said last year when deciding to call time on his career.

"My treatment has been completed and I will be having regular check-ups to keep on top of the situation as there is always the chance the cancer could return.

"My decision is a sad one, but it is the right thing to do and it's a case of putting my body, my health and my family first."

Smullen's decision to retire came when he realised he couldn't keep putting his body through the strain of training.

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“I started to gain weight, which is very, very important with what I have, to fight and keep my immune system strong," he told the Sun.

“I was gaining weight every week.

"The realisation came on me, how could I go back to punishing my body to get down to a riding weight that’s sustainable to make a living out of it, after all the work the surgeon had done, he stood over me for seven hours, and the recovery, I’m thankful to all the nurses and oncologists, everybody, so I just said, I can’t do that.”

ITV Racing presenter Matt Chapman tweeted: "A world class jockey. A world class person. Leaving the world far too soon. Honoured to have known you @patjsmullen you absolute legend. Cancer is just so horrid. #rip

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