A 19-year-old footballer who moved to America on a scholarship has died just a few weeks after discovering he had blood cancer.
Joe Aspinall, who attended Coastal Bend College in Texas, passed away on June 10 at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
The teenager’s devastated parents have paid tribute to their ‘fit and healthy’ son, who had returned from Texas to Highburton, West Yorkshire, at the start of the coronavirus crisis.
His father Brendan, a former professional footballer who played for Mansfield Town and Coleraine, wrote an emotional tribute that was released by a family friend.
He said: ‘Our fantastic 19-year-old fit and healthy son Joseph passed away on June 10 in intensive care at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
‘He had been studying a soccer scholarship at Coastal Bend College in Texas until we brought him home at the start of lockdown.
‘He became unwell in early May and was admitted to hospital on the 25th.
‘Following initial tests they found he had a haematological malignancy (blood cancer) that caused blood clots in his spleen and fatally, his lungs.
‘He was taken to intensive care on June 5 and despite a very brave fight and always remaining calm, he sadly couldn’t prevent the clots causing his heart and lungs to be unable to cope.
‘He was comforted at the end by his parents, sister and brother.
‘We have had hundreds of messages from people whose lives he had touched. His school friends, football and cricket teammates, work friends and his recent American college friends.
‘We are a private family and are so proud of Joseph and following all the messages of support have realised what a special part of so many lives he was and we will get strength from this.
‘One of his school friends, Charlotte and two of his close cousins Ella and Billy have wanted to show their respects by doing fundraising events and we find these efforts amazing and very thoughtful.
‘We are in shock and devastated by the past fortnight’s events butmwould like to thank the staff at HRI and the support of family thatmhas helped us through.’
More than £6,500 has been raised for the family by Joe’s former Shelley College classmate, Charlotte Oldroyd.