THE fiancée of a transplant games gold medallist has told how he meant everything to her after he died aged just 42.
Tony Doyle, who was born with cystic fibrosis, had both lungs replaced in September 2008. He underwent a second double lung transplant in 2013.
Sport obsessed, Tony won multiple gold medals at the European Heart and Lung Transplant Games in 2012.
He was admitted to Colchester Hospital after breaking his leg following a fall where he contracted Covid-19. He died on January 25.
His fiancée, Megan Ranson, of Oakwood Avenue, West Mersea, said: “He was clinically vulnerable and started shielding before he was told to in early March.
“We spent lockdown with my parents which was lovely, we had a lot of fun times.
“You wouldn’t find a family more serious about shielding than us. Tony didn’t leave the house until May – he didn’t even go into the garden.
“He took it really seriously, washing shopping before it came into the house, we did everything possible.
“Tony had diabetes and neuropathy, which means he would lose sensation in his feet – I don’t think he really knew what happened when he broke his leg “I was in the kitchen and just heard him fall over upstairs and that was that.
“After being discharged from hospital he had a nose bleed, we didn’t know this was a Covid symptom as it wasn’t listed.
“We had a test sent to us which hadn’t even arrived before we had to call the ambulance and within 48 hours he was gone. It was absolutely rapid.”
The 32-year-old explained how sport was his true passion in life and he didn’t discriminate, enjoying tennis, basketball, cycling and even snooker.
She added: “Sport was everything to him. It kept him healthy throughout his childhood and into his teenage years.
“He worked at the Monkwick Sports Centre and coached girls’ basketball teams, as well as representing Essex at snooker and tennis.
“In 2019, we finally got to see the Boston Celtics and the New England Patriots play live at home which was a big bucket list ticked for Tony, it was his dream.
“He never let his condition get him down and always had a smile on his face – he loved life.
“He had a huge network of friends from all walks of life and could make friends with anybody.”