Northern Ireland news

West Belfast family left devastated by sudden death of devoted father Marc Prendergast (38) due to heart condition

Marc Prendergast with his wife Jennifer and son Max
Seanín Graham

A POPULAR 38-year-old man who died suddenly from an underlying heart condition has been remembered by his family as a "gentleman with a heart of gold".

Marc Prendergast, an electrician from the Lagmore area of Belfast, who previously worked as a personal trainer and played in football teams, passed away last Thursday in the Royal Victoria Hospital just days after suffering chest pains.

He had been transferred to the Royal after attending an A&E department at Lagan Valley in Lisburn.

His devastated wife, Jennifer, said he "lived" for their little boy, Max, who is 17-months-old. The couple lost their first child, Marc, to stillbirth three years ago when he just was 24 weeks old.

Speaking to The Irish News ahead of his funeral tomorrow, Mrs Prendergast said there were "just not enough words" to describe how much her husband meant to her.

He had celebrated his birthday a week previously.

Marc Prendergast

"Before we had our little boy, Marc gave up the personal training because he wanted to spend as much time as possible with Max. He just adored him," she said.

"He was my home in a person."

The eldest of nine children, Mr Prendergast's mother Oonagh said her son was always focused on his fitness and there had been no warning signs.

"He had a real passion for health and nutrition and was always so well. We used to call him 'Mr Motivator' as he always encouraging us and telling us what to do. But he just a gentleman who loved his family, he had a heart of gold."

Mr Prendergast's brother, Matthew, who was in the Royal at the time of his death, spoke of his shock: "All the women in the family were away in Madrid celebrating my sister's 30th birthday. I had hoped he would make it but they told me it was a defect he had from birth...the consultant came out crying to me when he passed."

St Luke's football team held a minutes silence at games at the weekend. They said he was "a friend to many players and club members to date and will be sadly missed by all".

Fr Pat Sheehan, who married Marc and Jennifer, also paid tribute last night.

"For someone who lived such a short life Marc was a person who inspired others and touched so many people," he said.

Requiem mass will take place tomorrow at Christ the Redeemer Church at 11am.

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