A grief-stricken mother and her ten-year-old son have died just weeks apart.
Ashley Tomlin died on Monday of a ‘broken heart’, just weeks after losing her son Jak Fada.
Football mad Jak, died in hospital on November 6, just hours after complaining of chest pains.
He and his mother are thought to have had the same heart condition.
Medics told his devastated family that Jak had suffered a ruptured heart artery.
Jak’s death came less than 22 hours after his great-grandfather James Tomlin passed away.
During the early hours of Monday morning his mother Ashley also lost her life.
It is suspected all three family members succumbed to the same condition, and their surviving relatives are now due to be tested to see whether they are at risk.
But today Ashley’s devastated father said he believes his daughter died of a broken heart.
Keith Tomlin said: ‘It is the same as what happened to Jak. The main artery ruptured.
‘The coroner has said it is like a broken heart. She has been devastated since Jak died.’
Jak underwent surgery when he was just three months old after being diagnosed with a hole in his heart, and continued to have checkups at Freeman Hospital until he turned five.
As soon as he was able to walk the youngster would always be found with a football at his feet, and his passion for the game was inspired by his hero Alan Shearer.
Known as ‘captain’ among his team-mates, Jak played as a goalkeeper for the school team and was a regular at weekly training sessions.
Ashley was staying with her mother Jill when she died.
Jill heard her daughter go to the bathroom during the early hours of Monday and when she went in, she found Ashley having a seizure.
Jill called an ambulance, but there was nothing paramedics could do to save the 32-year-old’s life.
Mr Tomlin added: ‘They had a quiet night in and it got to about midnight, when Ashley went to the bathroom.
‘Jill heard a noise and when she went in, she found Ashley having a seizure. The paramedics couldn’t bring her round.
‘They think it was a massive heart attack, but I have my first meeting with the coroner and he told me he wishes they could put ‘broken heart’ on the death certificate, because that is basically what it was.’
Keith believed his daughter had started to move forward during recent days.
He added: ‘It was the same sort of thing as what happened with Jak and it is such an incredibly difficult time for the family.
INHERITED HEART CONDITIONS
Inherited heart conditions are caused by a fault (or mutation) in one or more of our genes.
If one of your parents has a faulty gene, there’s a 50:50 chance you could inherit it.
If you do, then there’s also a 50:50 chance you could pass it on to each of your children.
It’s possible to have a faulty gene that can lead to a heart condition, yet never develop any signs of symptoms of the condition itself.
If this happens, you can still pass the faulty gene on and there’s no way of knowing how it may affect your child, even if they do inherit the same faulty gene.
‘She had just started to make plans to move forward after the tragic loss of Jak and was the best she had been since he passed away.
‘She had started to make steps to get through it with the help of her loved ones. Only two things are getting me through it.
‘One is that my daughter’s heart isn’t broken any more and the second is that I know she was going to get through it. Now I’ve got to do that for her.’
Ashley, Keith and his ex-wife Jill, Tyne and Wear, were planning a family break to Dubai over the Christmas period as they tried to come to terms with the death of Jak.
He has now returned home to support his ex-wife after their worlds were turned upside down again.
He added: ‘Ashley was our only child. I’ve lost almost my whole family in a matter of four weeks. Jill has lost the main focus of her life. They were her life.
‘My focus now is on helping my ex-wife get through this. I don’t know how I’ll get through it but I have to.’
Following Jak’s death Ashley had paid an emotional tribute to her son.
She said: ‘This was a total shock and out of the blue. We thought the pain in his chest might have been from losing his great-grandad.
‘It’s ironic it was his heart because Jak had the biggest heart. He has given me the best 10 years of my life.
‘Jak just had an infectious smile that lit up the room and was the centre of everyone’s universe.
‘From the moment he could walk he would be kicking a ball. He was just a mummy’s boy.’