In a bid to raise awareness of cancer and to instill the importance of health checks, the father of five opened up about his illness.
Hugh took ill on a business trip to Frankfurt in 2013 and on returning to Ireland went straight to see a doctor. What was initially thought to be gallstones, turned out to be stage four colon cancer.
His most recent scan revealed that the 63-year-old has just weeks to live.
Speaking on The Late Late Show Hugh said, “I’m ready to die, but I do want to leave some legacies behind me.”
“All I say to adults, in particular men, is listen to your body, learn from the mistakes I made. Go for regular check-ups. Be honest when preparing questionnaires for doctors. Don’t take short cuts.
“In hindsight I made a couple of errors. I recall two occasions when I passed blood but I didn’t listen to my body. Typical man, too busy, macho. I ignored it. That was the body telling me something.”
Speaking about the reaction to his diagnosis he said, “Within 24 hours of being diagnosed I had gone to my study and worked out in my own head that I was going to die. But because I knew I had a long road ahead of me I took positives.
“I’ve been very fortunate; I’ve had 40 years of a professional career. I have happy memories of sporting days, I’ve left nothing behind.”
Expressing how important family is to him, he revealed that he rang his children and told them of his diagnosis saying, “This is business as usual; I’m a going concern, not a gone concern.”
While he said he has made peace with that fact that he will soon die, he is hoping that other men won’t make the mistake he made.
“I want to stress the importance of early detection. Don’t leave it to late, don’t ignore the warning signs,” he said.