AN INSPIRATIONAL Wigan man has lost a brave battle with cancer aged just 41.
Dave Hodgson, who was known to thousands of Wiganers through his Twitter account and love of Wigan Athletic, died on New Year’s Eve after suffering from a rare, aggressive form of skin cancer.
Dave had lived in Dubai for the last two years, working as a marketing executive.
His death brought a flood of tributes from fans of his ‘tweets’ and the footballing community, including Latics players and Sky Sports pundit Chris Kamara.
Dave, a former pupil of Abraham Guest High School who lived in Orrell Road, Orrell, was diagnosed with skin cancer after discovering a bleeding mole on his skin. It was removed in January 2010 before he moved to Dubai.
He returned to the UK in November that year for a check up where he was told the melanoma was back and that it had spread.
A lifeline did come Dave’s way in the form of a new drug but in the end, the cancer was too strong and on July 12 last year, he was given a year to live.
Dave had been keeping in touch with people using social networking site Twitter and keeping up to date with his beloved Wigan Athletic. He also tweeted updates about his courageous fight against his terminal illness.
His followers and admirers grew to 2,500 by the time he died; all inspired by his positive thinking and remarkable strength to battle his illness.
He would often tweet about his treatment but talk of how wife Natalie and daughter Olivia were there to keep him strong.
On Christmas Day, he tweeted: “What an amazing day. Wife, daughter, mum and sister all in hospital room. Dvds, toys, carnage! Bloody ace! And several horrid moments. Wow!”
His sister Beverley Eustace has today paid tribute to her “amazing” brother and the way he inspired people.
She said: “He was a remarkable person and he had so much going for him.
“It’s a strange story but we both went for check ups on moles on our skin on the same day without even knowing it.
“We were both told it wasn’t something to worry about but for Dave, that wasn’t the case.”
Close friend Simon Taylor added: “I met Dave when we started at Abraham Guest when we were 11. He was a great bloke and had a real zest for life. We led different lives with me staying in Wigan and him travelling everywhere but we always stayed close.
“He was such a fun loving character with a huge grin who loved his football. His death has left a real hole in my life, one that can’t be replaced.”
Before his death, the cancer had spread to four parts of Dave’s body and he had tumours removed from his armpit, four from his small intestine and finally his liver.
He would often speak about the pain he was suffering from his illness but in the same tweet, the pain or delight he endured from Wigan Athletic.
Beverley added: “For him, Wigan Athletic was like a religion. He loved the club and he kept such close tabs on them despite not living in the town.”
Speaking on behalf of Wigan Athletic, Ed Jones said: “It’s clear that over the last year his love of the club kept him positive in awful personal circumstances and we did as much as possible to help.
“We recorded a message from Roberto and the lads on Twitter – Emmerson (Boyce), Conor (Sammon) and Ali (Al Habsi) kept in touch with him which I know gave him a lot of pleasure.
“It’s an extremely sad day for us and all our warmest thoughts go out to his family.
“Dave was a very special kind of supporter whose dignity and courage to the very end was incredible. The Wigan Athletic family really is mourning one of its most faithful and colourful members.”