Dad dies suddenly on Christmas Day moments after 'laughing and joking' with family
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Featured Image Credit: Damien Sharpe
A dad who was 'laughing and joking' with his family on Christmas day died suddenly of a suspected heart attack.
40-year-old Gareth Blenkins, from Leeds, was enjoying the festive celebrations with his family when he suddenly collapsed to the floor, clutching his chest.
This came after the 40-year-old nipped out for a cigarette while the evening was winding down.
Gareth was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary on Christmas day but sadly lost his life.
Damien Sharpe, Gareth's cousin, told LeedsLive: "He was laughing and joking but then he just clutched his chest and fell to the floor and started having a fit.
"His brain went for too long without oxygen. Unfortunately, he didn’t come round from it.
"He was strong, he’d do anything for anybody, very protective. Sometimes he’d be quite shy but if he noticed you were sad, he’d always say 'Do you need a Blenkins cuddle?' I’ll never forget those words."
Gareth leaves behind a 15-year-old son who he 'lived for', according to Damien.
His cousin said that Gareth was more like a brother to him, and spoke of how much of a 'loving' father he was to his son.
Gareth was a big Leeds United and Leeds Rhinos fan and had just celebrated his 40th birthday in Malaga last month.
Damien added: "I know he was loved and I know he touched a lot of people’s hearts. I just want to help the family out – especially with this happening over Christmas. Nobody expected this to happen."
Gareth's cousin also said that the dad put all his money towards his son and hadn't prepared any life insurance or any funeral costs.
As a result, Damien has launched a GoFundMe page to help raise some money for Gareth's funeral.
Since it went live three days ago, the fundraiser has smashed its target of £4,000, with nearly £5,500 raised at the time of writing.
On the page, Damien wrote: "I don’t normally ask anything of this sort but feel compelled to do so.
"If you knew Gareth or had any interaction with him you know how good he inside and out, how much he loved life and never hurt a fly.
"As we all know life is hard sometimes and now with cost of living it’s even more expensive and we as a family cannot imagine life with our gaz and how this devastating news has affected us all."