Wigan Athletic hero Alex Cribley is mourning the devastating loss of both his son and his unborn granddaughter after they died within days of each other.
The 59-year-old captained Latics with distinction during his playing days, before serving as caretaker manager, coach, scout and was physiotherapist to both the first team and the academy until his retirement in 2015 after a 35-year association with the club.
The double-tragedy in West Derby, Liverpool, was revealed in the national media.
Tom Cribley, 28, died just two days after he was diagnosed with meningitis and just hours after girlfriend Meghan Power, 23, played him a video of their baby’s heartbeat.
Tragically, at her five-month scan, which came three days after Tom died, grief-stricken Meghan found out that their unborn daughter, whom they called Ellie, was unlikely to survive.
Mr Cribley’s friend Shaun Cavanagh, 25, told how he had been excited by the prospect of fatherhood.
He told the Daily Mirror: “We were just out the other week and it’s all he could talk about.
“He couldn’t wait to see his baby.
“Tom was a person who could make you cry with laughter at the saddest of times, somebody whose presence would always put a smile on your face.
“He was crazy in a beautiful way.
“This has been such a shock, he was a perfectly fit and healthy young man.”
Friends set up a Just Giving crowdfunding page to contribute towards funeral costs and the aftermath of “anyone’s worst nightmare”.