Family left "devastated" following sudden death of son (31) from heart failure

Teresa Carter with her daughter, Georgina, with a photograph of her 31-year-old son, Anthony who died suddenly from heart failure. Photo by Hugh Russell
Marie Louise McConville

THE family of a 31 year-old west Belfast man who collapsed and died from heart failure have described their shock at the sudden death of their "gentleman" son.

Anthony Carter was found dead at his flat in Antrim on Saturday by his parents, Gerard and Teresa.

The father-of-three had been suffering shortness of breath in recent months and was awaiting a hospital referral for further tests.

His heartbroken mother told how she found her son at his home after failed attempts to reach him by phone.

The 31 year-old appeared fit and healthy but in recent months began experiencing shortness of breath and had gone to hospital.

Doctors placed him on an overnight cardiac monitor at home and he was awaiting an appointment at the Thoracic Medicine department at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

He received a letter last month informing him an appointment for the unit - which explores chest and respiratory complaints - would be sent in the coming weeks.

Mrs Carter said they were struggling to come to terms with the sudden death of their "big gentleman" son and appealed to others experiencing similar symptoms not to ignore them.

"I don't know how I am going to get over it," she said. "We are just heartbroken.

"He was just a big gentleman, a big gentle giant ...and would have given anybody his last and leave himself with nothing.

"He was devoted to his kids, he gave them everything. He was very family-orientated."

Mr Carter said Anthony was "popular and outgoing" and "loved to laugh" and the huge number of visitors who called to pay their respects showed how well regarded he was in the community.

"He knew everybody," he said.

"You couldn't move in the street last night for people trying to get into the house. It is a big shock for everyone".

Mr Carter also revealed they had given permission for tissue samples to be taken from her son to help with medical research.

And she appealed for anyone suffering with symptoms, such as shortness of breath or reflux, not to ignore the signs but to "go and get it checked out".

"You don't know, it might save your life," she said.

Requiem Mass for Mr Carter will take place at 10am today at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Dunmurry followed by commital at Roselawn Crematorium at 12 noon.

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