A MAN described as "one of the most gentle and kindest souls you could ever meet" tragically passed away less than two weeks before Christmas.

After telling his wife Lynsey that "he didn't feel good" before heading off to work, Gary Porter died of a heart attack on Wednesday, December 14.

Being someone who "never took time off work" and having no prior health concerns, the HGV driver left his home in Parr at around 4.30am.

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St Helens Star: Gary is described as one of the most gentle and kind souls you could you could ever meetGary is described as one of the most gentle and kind souls you could you could ever meet (Image: Lynsey Porter)

Reaching a depot in Cambridge later that morning, the 47-year-old collapsed after getting out of his vehicle and was pronounced dead once paramedics arrived.

Leaving behind his loving wife Lynsey, son Erith, and daughter Millie, the news has devastated the Porter family which has been left without their "hero" over Christmas.

A friend of Gary's, who has organised a fundraising appeal, said: "Gary is just the most selfless person I've ever met.

"He never had a bad word to say about anybody and he was a true family man.

"He always put his family before himself and everything he did was to support his family.

"He also gave up so much of his own time to organise fixtures at Liverpool St Helens and was a very respected parent at both rugby clubs [Blackbrook also]."

St Helens Star: Gary was adored by his wife and two childrenGary was adored by his wife and two children (Image: Lynsey Porter)

In addition to the momentous grief befalling the Porter family, they have also been struggling to get Gary's body home before Christmas due to a "backlog" in the coroner's office.

A delayed post-mortem confirmed that Gary suffered a stomach aneurysm, which led to a heart attack.

With delays in the coroner's office, and as the death happened in Cambridge, the family has had difficulty obtaining a death certificate and getting Gary home to plan his funeral.

The dad-of-two also had no life insurance or a death in service contract, and his job was the main source of income for the family.

With this in mind, a fundraiser has been set up to show support to the family and try to ease their  financial worries over Christmas.

St Helens Star: Gary moved up from Kent to live with his wife LynseyGary moved up from Kent to live with his wife Lynsey (Image: Lyndsey Porter)

"It's just an awful situation", added the family friend.

"They are quite a proud family so we wanted to do whatever we can as friends to support them and relieve as much financial stress as possible over Christmas."

To support Gary's family, you can donate to the fundraiser here.