Josh Downie: Cricketer, 24, dies after heart attack at practice

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Josh DownieImage source, Family handout
Image caption,
Cricket was a "huge part" of Josh Downie's life, his mother said

A mother has paid tribute to her "beautiful" 24-year-old son who died after suffering a heart attack while playing cricket.

Josh Downie, brother of Olympians Becky and Ellie, collapsed in the nets in Birkenhead, near Liverpool, on 6 May and was pronounced dead that evening.

His mother Helen said he had no known health problems.

She added the keen cricketer and PE teacher's death had "left a massive hole in our lives".

"It's just completely out of the blue," she said. "It doesn't seem real at the moment."

She was called just after 20:00 BST on 6 May by his girlfriend's mum, who said he was being taken to hospital.

Doctors attempted to resuscitate him but were unsuccessful.

Mrs Downie, 57, of Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, has been told he had suffered a heart attack but is still waiting on a post-mortem examination for more details.

Image source, Family handout
Image caption,
Mr Downie was born and raised in Nottinghamshire but had moved to Liverpool in September to start a job and live with his girlfriend

She described her son as "beautiful, inside and out".

"He was very bubbly, outgoing, sociable and caring," she added.

"He was the kindest boy I have ever met. He had a lovely life and he enjoyed it."

She also thanked the many organisations who have shared tributes to her son.

Image source, Family handout
Image caption,
Mr Downie, who shared his love of cricket with his father, started playing at the age of 10

The school he taught at, Lord Derby Academy in Merseyside, described him as a "true gentleman and an exemplary role model for pupils".

His former cricket club in Burton Joyce said he had the highest individual score by a player in its history and added "our hearts go out to Josh's family at this difficult time".

And one of his four siblings, Becky - herself an Olympic gymnast - said: "No words can describe the pain we as a family are all feeling right now.

"The world is so cruel sometimes... Josh, you were the most amazing brother.

"We will forever be the Downie 5."

Image source, Family handout
Image caption,
Mr Downie's sister Becky said life without him is "unimaginable" and he will "never be forgotten"

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