A newlywed bride has revealed her heartache after her husband died from lung cancer four days into their honeymoon – despite showing no symptoms of the killer disease.
Alan Simms, 31, fell ill three days into his luxury break on the African island of Cape Verde with wife Aimee.
The couple thought at first that he was suffering from food poisoning, but his condition deteriorated at a rapid rate and he died just hours later on only their eighth day of marriage.
A post-mortem found that Alan, a gardener, died from lung cancer – which has left his wife baffled.
The 33-year-old said: ‘I just can’t understand it. In the space of 12 hours he had gone from being fine and dandy to having died. He didn’t have any signs of cancer. It was horrible.’
Alan, of Morley, West Yorkshire, started being violently sick on May 27.
He was diagnosed with food poisoning by an emergency nurse, who also told Aimee to take him to a clinic for tests.
She told the Yorkshire Evening Post: ‘I was just stood next to him in the clinic. He was really quiet. I was trying to reassure him.
‘Then they asked me to leave as things got worse. I rang my mum crying.
‘It was probably about an hour before someone came back to me. They asked me to go in a room, and that’s when I knew he was dead.’
Hundreds packed Cottingley Crematorium in Leeds last Friday to pay their respects to ‘Big Al’.
Aimee said that all his friends are still reeling over the shock of his death.
‘He was just so happy and friendly. He would do anything for anyone. You couldn’t miss him – with his height and his booming voice. He will leave a big hole.’
Aimee said: ‘I’ve cried so much I’m running out of tears.’
A postmortem revealed the gardener had died of lung cancer.
Despite living with a benign tumour in his brain – diagnosed when he was 19 – Alan had been fit and healthy.
But the post-mortem revealed cancerous cells had also been found in his liver.
After spending the first two days relaxing and exploring the island, the third day started with a lazy morning before Aimee went to the pool and Alan rang his mum to tell her about the ‘fantastic’ time he was having.
But just a few hours later, he told Aimee he felt so tired he needed to sleep before dinner.
At dinner, Aimee said he was very quiet – unlike his usual self – and just wanted to go straight to sleep afterwards.
But at midnight, he woke up being violently sick and with stomach pains, leading Aimee to call an emergency nurse at 4am.
The nurse thought it was food poisoning and gave him anti-sickness drugs and pain relief before telling him to go to the clinic at 8am for further tests.
Alan was very weak by the time he got to the clinic and doctors battled to monitor his vital signs.
‘I was just stood next to him, talking to him. He was really quiet. I was trying to reassure him, saying, ‘It’s OK, you’ve got a bad belly’.
‘I was just rubbing his forehead, there was nothing else I could do.
‘As Alan continued to quickly deteriorate, doctors moved Aimee further away before suddenly asking her to leave the room as they began CPR.
‘I just didn’t know what was going on. I rang my mum crying. I said Alan’s come in with a bad belly and now I think he’s dying. She couldn’t get her head around it,’ said Aimee.
‘I just sat on a step outside and it was probably about an hour before someone came back to me. I said ‘is he OK, is he stable?’ And they asked me to go in a room. That’s when I knew he was dead. They said they had done everything they could.
‘I just didn’t understand why we had gone in with diarrhoea and sickness and he’s died. I was just shaking.’
TUI travel reps helped support Aimee and sort paperwork over the next couple of days before she could fly home.
Alan’s body followed two days later.
Alan’s wake was held at Churwell WMC, where Alan had been a regular.
The club is having a ‘Darts and Dominoes’ charity night in his memory on July 27, with all welcome.