A FANATIC Wigan rugby fan and father of two has died after collapsing while watching his beloved team.
Tributes have flooded in for fun-loving Mark Evans, who suffered a suspected heart attack whilst at the Wigan Warriors match on Friday evening.
The 42-year-old collapsed just before the match started.
After attempts by paramedics to revive him he was taken to Wigan Infirmary.
His devastated wife Sam Evans, 37, got to hospital at about 10pm but he had already died and she had to break the news to their sons Ben, 13, and Jack, 10.
She said: “Mark and I have been together since I was 16. I feel so lost without him.
“He was my childhood sweetheart and I’ve lost the love of my life. I’m devastated.”
The proud dad, known as ‘Big Mark’, used to enjoy watching his sons play rugby for Chorley Panthers every week.
He had taken Ben and a friend to Wigan’s match against the Crusaders, but wasn’t sat with them when the tragedy struck.
Sam said: “I don’t know exactly what happened, but one of the Panther parents saw him being taken away to hospital.
“Ben didn’t see anything, but they called his name over the public address system and somebody told him that his dad had fallen.
“They took Ben to the hospital separately, but he didn’t know what was going on. When I got there, they took me into a room and told me Mark had died, and I just wailed.
“I took Ben home and got him and Jack together, and then I broke my boys’ hearts.”
She is still waiting for confirmation about how Mark died, but a doctor said the symptoms suggested it was a coronary heart attack.
“Mark was such a devoted, brilliant dad,” Sam said. “His sons idolised him. He was amazing and a real family man.
“He was a loving husband, and was such a fun character.”
Mark, who lived in Chorley, worked for Lancashire County Council on the highways, also enjoyed fishing.
Sam said: “He was very keen on fishing. Sometimes he would take the boys, and other times he would go on his own.
“That was where he enjoyed his quiet time.
“We also enjoyed camping and walking, and just laughing and snuggling.”
The pair, who married in 1995, were planning a double birthday celebration for their sons next weekend.
Ben turned 13 at the start of the month, and Jack will turn 11 on September 24.
“We’re not cancelling,” she said. “Mark was a fun guy, he’d want them to have a good time.”
Chorley Panthers have also spoken out about the loss, saying in statement on their website: “Rugby was one of his real passions and his memory will live on through the club for many years to come.”
A Wigan Warriors spokesman added: “Wigan Warriors would like to pass on our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of supporter Mark Evans.
“Mr Evans suffered a cardiac arrest before Friday’s home game with Crusaders, and was treated on site by NWAS Paramedic staff with support from St John first aiders. The crowd doctor was also deployed.
“It is with regret that, sadly, Mr Evans later passed away at the Royal Albert Edward Wigan Infirmary.”