Dockery began dating Dineen two years ago. They became engaged this past February. By then he was already struggling with cancer.
He reportedly sought treatment in Germany, but the public relations executive spent his final days in a hospice in his home country of Ireland, according to London’s Daily Mail. Michelle was at his side when he died.
Dockery met Dineen after she was introduced by Downton co-star Allen Leech, who plays Tom Branson, the family chauffeur who marries Mary’s sister, Lady Sybil. Ironically, Tom and Mary are close on the show.
Dockery’s character goes through a similar travail. Her betrothed dies on the Titanic and she’s forced to fend for herself. She goes through a sex scandal, before falling in love with her distant cousin, Matthew Crawley. He’s next in line to inherit the estate.
They marry and Mary finds happiness. But Dan Stevens, who played the character, decided he wanted to leave the shows. Writers were forced to kill him off in a tragic traffic accident.
Mary was left a young widow.
Dineen, 34, grew up in Waterfall near the Irish city of Cork. He worked with FTI Consulting in London. The company provides public relations advice to financial firms.
Dockery, who turns 34 today, was recently on a promotional tour for the upcoming sixth, and final, season of “Downton Abbey.”
She also appeared earlier this month with Hugh Bonneville (Lord Crawley) and Leech on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” She gave no hint that her finance was seriously ill.
Such was the very private nature of their relationship.
“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,” a rep for the actress said in a statement.