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Northern Ireland news

Family tell of 'completely preventable' death of father-of-two

Colin McNally suffered a perforated ulcer
Marie Louise McConville

THE family of a 35-year-old man who died suddenly from a "completely preventable" condition have urged other men to be open about their health.

Colin McNally, who recently became a father for the second time, was found at his home in north Belfast last Sunday evening.

He is believed to have died instantly after an ulcer in his stomach perforated.

The father-of-two's family said the former Marks & Spencer worker began experiencing stomach pain six months ago and had been in "agony" over the last two weeks, but had refused to seek medical help.

On Sunday night he was found on the floor of his apartment at Hopefield Avenue off the Antrim Road by a friend who had gone to check on the Leeds United fan.

His sister Tanya McNally said the family had been left "totally devastated".

"We are totally shocked," she said.

"It was completely sudden. I had to phone my mum and dad to tell them because they were in Spain."

Ms McNally said her brother, who is originally from Glengormley, had refused to seek medical advice about his stomach pains, having "diagnosed himself" with a hernia.

"He wouldn't go and see about it, he wouldn't talk about it," she said.

"He was convinced it was a hernia. All his friends had been saying `You need to go to the hospital' but he refused. Typical man, said he would be fine."

The cause of his death was a perforated ulcer, which had bled into his stomach.

"He started to feel the pain in the last six months but in the last two weeks was in agony," his sister said.

"Colin was a typical man who didn't speak about his health. He hated to ask for help. He was independent and so proud. This all could have been been prevented.

"Men need to be open about their health. They need to ask for help. They need to go and get checked out, even the smallest thing."

Ms McNally said her brother, who had an 11-year-old daughter and welcomed a baby son five months ago, would be remembered as the "life and soul of any room".

"He had the most infectious laugh. Anybody would tell you he was the centre of it all," she said.

"He was very big-hearted. Colin would have given you the shirt off his back.

"He lived for his two kids. He loved being a dad. He idolised his kids."

She added: "We are totally heartbroken. He can never be replaced. There is going to be hole in the family that can never be filled. We will just be lost without him."

Requiem Mass for Mr McNally took place at St Mary's on the Hill Church in Glengormley on Friday.

In lieu of flowers, the family asked for any donations to be made to Everglow, a health and well-being charity which has been set up by Beann Mhadagain FC in north Belfast. For details see www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/everglow.

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