Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary in Downton Abbey, was thought to be engaged to Irishman John Dineen, who has died aged 34

Our thoughts are with Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery this morning, who has been left ‘devastated’ by the death of her boyfriend.

John Dineen died at a hospital in Cork, Ireland on Sunday morning, the Irish Examiner reports. He was aged just 34.

MORE: ‘I didn’t expect to feel so sad’: Michelle Dockery opens up about emotional end to Downton Abbey

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It’s understood that the financial PR man – who Michelle had been dating since 2013 – had been ill ‘for some time’, and will be laid to rest in a private ceremony on Wednesday.

The Downton actress was reportedly introduced to John by his friend and fellow Irishman Allen Leech, who plays former family chauffeur Tom Branson in the ITV drama.

She remained fiercely tight-lipped about their relationship, saying in a September 2014 interview: ‘I have a wonderful man in my life from Ireland. We were introduced by Allen Leech. That’s all you need to know.’

But the couple were photographed together on various occasions, including in the Royal Box at Wimbledon last year.

A rep for Michelle told The Mirror: ‘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.’

The couple are believed to have gotten engaged earlier this year, with reports suggesting that Michelle had shown off an incredible diamond ring to her Downton castmates.

‘She’s over the moon and was showing it off to all of the cast and crew,’ a source told The Sun at the time. ‘It’s wonderful news and everyone is delighted. She and John make a lovely couple.’

Michelle has played Downton’s Lady Mary – who was widowed at the end of series three – since the show debuted in 2010. The last ever episode is set to air on Christmas Day.