A DAD from Sheffield who miraculously survived a horrific motorbike crash has been tragically killed 12 years on - by a tiny crack in an artery.
Willy Hopkins, aged 39, will be buried this Thursday - the day he was due to turn 40.
The cricket club where he planned to hold his birthday party will instead be the venue for his wake.
Willy died suddenly after an unexplained fit that has left his family devastated.
Today his heartbroken wife Kelly is contemplating the future without the love of her life, and working out how to bring up children Harry, six, and Grace, four, without their dad.
Willy lost his right leg in a bike crash on the moors outside Sheffield in 2000. Realising he was about to bleed to death, he pulled off his belt and made his own tourniquet. Medics were amazed he survived with just two pints of blood left in his body.
But Willy was determined amputation would not change his life. Once he had a prosthetic leg fitted he even carried on riding his beloved Kawasaki motorbikes.
Kelly, 33, of Monteney Road, Parson Cross, told The Star today: “I can’t believe he came through that accident just to be taken away by this.
“He lived for his children and he lived for me. I can’t see a future without him.”
The first Kelly knew anything wrong was when Willy went to bed with a headache, then started fitting in the early hours. She dialled 999 immediately, but Willy stopped breathing in the ambulance on the way to hospital.
A post-mortem examination has revealed the cause of death to be aortic arch dissection - a condition caused by a torn wall in an artery from the heart.
But Kelly will have to wait for an inquest to find out what caused it. “It is completely unexplained,” she said.
Kelly said her partner of 13 years, whom she married two years ago, was an ‘amazing man, who would do anything for anybody’.
“He was a fantastic husband and a wonderful father,” she said. “Words can’t describe his kindness.”
Kelly has tried to explain to Harry and Grace, pupils at Monteney School, why their father is no longer around.
“They don’t really understand,” she said. “My little girl keeps asking when he is coming back.”
Willy, the youngest of five brothers and sisters who grew up in Fox Hill and Parson Cross, died on January 4 and will be buried this Thursday following a service at 1.45pm at St Mary’s Church, Ecclesfield.
The wake will be held at The Ranch in Chapeltown, where Willy planned to hold his birthday celebrations.
“William was a lovely man,” said older sister Jo, 48. “He was a real daredevil, he lived life on the edge. But he could make friends with anyone. He will be missed by many people.”
Kelly is expecting at least 300 mourners from across the country to attend the funeral. Willy’s coffin will be escorted to Ecclesfield Cemetery by his closest friends on motorbikes.