Kellinu Portelli: Cardiff dad dies on Everest charity climb

Image source, Go Fund Me
Image caption,
The engineer and keen runner had been raising money for a cancer charity

A father-of-two has died while on a "life-changing" Mount Everest climb.

Kellinu Portelli, 54, from Leckwith, Cardiff, had been suffering from low blood oxygen levels during the trek and was being monitored by his guide.

On Monday evening he attended a festival with local people before going to bed but a guide found him dead at the base camp on Tuesday morning.

He had been raising money for a cancer charity after losing his mother-in-law and a close friend to the disease.

The engineer, known as Kell, had messaged friends and family on WhatsApp to say he was feeling better after receiving medical treatment.

His wife of 30 years Donna, 51, said: "I said to him just be careful and he said 'I will be careful I promise'."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Mount Everest is 8,848m (29,000ft) tall

She said she and their children, aged 26 and 20, were waiting for a post-mortem examination to be carried out.

"Kell was a real family man and he adored his grandson Luca," she said.

"He had been Facetiming us from Nepal and would be crying down the phone. He was such an emotional man and he'd cry because he missed us.

"But he was having a great time over there, he told his daughter it was a life-changing experience."

Mrs Portelli said her husband had been a keen member of Les Croupiers running club.

"When he was 40 he was quite overweight so took up running and exercise became a massive part of him," she said.

"He had completed seven marathons, loads of 10ks and other events and would always do Parkrun."

Friend David McDonald said: "The only thing that we can take any comfort in is that he was doing something that he always wanted to do and he was loving every moment of it."

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "We are supporting the family of a British man following his death in Lobuche near Everest base camp and our staff are in contact with the Nepalese authorities."

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