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Irish Filmmaker Ross McDonnell, Emmy Winner, Confirmed Dead at 44: Tragic Circumstances Surround His Passing in New York City

Ross McDonnell
Ross McDonnell (Credits: Extra)

The family of Ross McDonnell, an Irish director and cinematographer who had been reported missing in New York City earlier this month, has confirmed his passing. The Emmy-winning filmmaker, aged 44, was declared dead on November 5, as stated in an obituary on RIP.IE. The announcement followed the discovery of a body on a New York City beach, believed to be McDonnell’s remains, according to law enforcement sources cited by NBC News.

Described as a significant loss, McDonnell is mourned by his parents, sister, niece, aunt, uncles, cousins, extended family, friends, LJ, and colleagues in Ireland, the U.S.A., and worldwide, according to his obituary. McDonnell went missing on November 4 after a bike ride in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, with his bike found in Queens at Fort Tilden Beach. On November 17, authorities located a dismembered body on Breezy Point Beach, close to Fort Tilden, comprising only a torso and legs, with no head or arms recovered.

Ross McDonnell

Ross McDonnell (Credits: Variety)

The cause of death remains undetermined, with NBC News reporting that sources suggest no foul play or suicide. Authorities suspect McDonnell may have drowned after going for a swim. The New York Daily News reported a police source stating that the body might have been dismembered by tides, rocks, and marine life over two weeks before washing ashore. Investigations, in collaboration with the Irish consulate, are ongoing, with DNA results awaited, according to Variety.

McDonnell, a recipient of two cinematography Emmys for the documentaries “The Trade” on Showtime and “The First Wave” on National Geographic, leaves behind a notable legacy. He was also Emmy-nominated for co-directing “Elián,” a documentary about Elián González, with Tim Golden. McDonnell is survived by his parents Maureen and Nicky, sister Louise, and niece Eva.

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