Mr Mackie passed away peacefully at the Ashwood House Nursing Home in Newtownabby on Tuesday (February 22). He was 82 years old.
The Shore Road-born performer is best known for his football anthem “I’m Yer Man”, which struck a chord with fans during Northern Ireland’s legendary 1982 World Cup performance.
In a social media post, his daughter Kathy McKee said: “It is with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes that I write this post. I’m heartbroken, I lost my little daddy.
“He was so special to me with his funny yet calm personality. He taught me to enjoy everything in life little by little, in moderation. We’re so proud of the legacy you left us, and I know that instead of asking, “How’s your dad?” I’ll be told a funny story about how you’re remembered.
“My love for you will never die and I hope that I will always be called ‘Sammy Mackie’s daughter’.”
Tributes have been pouring in since the artist’s death was announced.
In a Facebook post, a spokesperson for The Hill Tavern in Carnmoney said: “It is with heavy hearts that we write this sad news of the passing of a true legend, Sammy Mackie. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. TEAR.”
Northern Irish football channel Our Wee Country on social media also paid tribute by posting: “Some sad news for those of the España 82 generation. Part of the NI folklore of that era, Sammy Mackie, is sadly a thing of the past.” Condolences to his family and friends.
“His family is looking for an NI tie so he can wear it when he is buried. If anyone has a spare, please contact us and we will provide details.”
A report on the Funeral Times website states that Mr. Mackie was “Allison, Katy and Steven’s much loved father, Elsie’s husband, and devoted grandfather to Adam and fiancée Cody and Ben.”
It added: “The private cremation will be followed by a service to celebrate Sammy’s life at Carnmany Presbyterian Church (to which everyone is invited) on Saturday, February 26 at noon.
“Only family flowers, please. Donations in lieu of, if desired, cystic fibrosis c/o and checks payable to the directors of Fleming and Cuthbert Funeral Homes, 141 Mill Road, Ballyclare.”
Born on January 22, 1940, Sammy, the youngest of the three children of John and Cathy Mackie, was always destined to be an entertainer. For some time he served in the army, specializing in the entertainment of the troops.
He married in January 1966 and lived in Queens Park in Glengormley. Sammy also started an industrial cleaning business but continued his love of the stage, working in pubs and clubs throughout the province, as well as touring England and Scotland.
He rose to prominence in 1982 when he was runner-up for Northern Ireland Artist of the Year and also won a special award for The Essence of Northern Ireland.
He was also voted Co Tyrone’s Artist of the Year in 1982 and 1983.
Sammy recorded several new songs, the most popular of which was “I’m Yer Man”. He has performed on stage from performances to pantomimes with small roles in the films Coal City and The Dog Man.