A YOUNG dad and devoted Hearts fan has collapsed and died suddenly, just days after finding out he suffered from a severe form of epilepsy.
Alex Halliday, 34, was discovered dead at his Gorgie home by his mother, after his friends raised the alarm when the season ticket holder failed to show for last weekend’s game at Tynecastle.
His devastated family is now preparing to lay him to rest in his beloved Jambos kit.
Tributes have flooded in for the father-of-one who was diagnosed in April but only discovered he suffered from frontal lobe epilepsy – a severe form of the condition – in the last week. The former Tynecastle High pupil was awaiting the results of an MRI scan when he died.
His sister, Debbie, said: “The entire family is in shock. We knew that he had been diagnosed with epilepsy but no-one ever thought he would die from it.
“My mum and dad are in bits – dad and him were supposed to go to Tynecastle together for the first time in years this weekend.
“Mum knew something was up when he didn’t go to the game as he would never miss a match without good reason.”
She added: “All that he cared about in life was his wee girl and Hearts. I can’t believe how done and dusted it is, just suddenly he’s gone.”
A full postmortem is now being carried out to find out how Mr Halliday, a Wheatfield Stand ticket holder who worked at Tesco in Corstorphine, died.
He was discovered by his mother, Olive, in his Newton Street flat last Saturday, after his friends alerted her that he was not in his usual seat for Hearts’ home draw with Dundee United.
Later that evening, his mother contacted a joiner to force the door of his home where she found him collapsed on the bedroom floor.
His sister said her only sibling, father to a four-year-old girl, will be cremated in his Hearts strip. Mourners are also being asked to wear maroon and white to his funeral.
She added: “It’s all so raw. I keep thinking about picking up the phone to tell him something and then remember that he’s gone. He was such a scatterbrain, always forgetting things so I’d have to ring him and remind him of stuff all the time.
“His daughter, wee Kelsey, and my son have been told that he’s in heaven now but it hasn’t in any way sunk in.”
News of Mr Halliday’s death has led to countless messages from fellow fans.
Tributes have been posted on social forum Jambos Kickback while at Tynecastle, a club spokesman said: “We are saddened to hear of the death of one of our supporters in such tragic circumstances and at such a young age. Everyone at the club would like to express their deepest condolences to his family at this time.”
No cure for brain condition
Epilepsy is a condition that affects the brain and the electrical messages it sends. The area of the brain where the electrical activity is disturbed, and how far that disturbance reaches, determines the kind of seizure suffered.
About one in three people have a known cause for their epilepsy. This is called symptomatic epilepsy. For most people with epilepsy, there is no known cause. This is called idiopathic epilepsy. Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is when someone dies unexpectedly and there is no reason found for the death. However, this is very rare.
There is no cure for epilepsy and it can begin at any age, but victims are more likely to develop epilepsy when young or in later life. Around 50 per cent of all cases develop before ten years of age.