A HEARTBROKEN dad has spoken of the terrible tragedy of losing his wife and son within just five weeks of each other.
Ken Lucas was still grieving for wife Linda, who lost her battle with cancer aged 61, when his son Karl, a popular footballer, was killed suddenly by an aneurysm.
Their deaths have left family and friends - many from football clubs across Sheffield, where fit and healthy Karl was a goalkeeper - reeling.
Ken, aged 63, from Frecheville, told The Star he is trying to ‘keep strong’.
He said: “We were still grieving for Linda when suddenly this happened to Karl, five weeks to the day after his mum.
“I wanted to find a hole to crawl into - I couldn’t accept it.
“Nobody had a better son, or brother, than Karl, and nobody had a better wife than Linda.
“Karl has left a hole by the side of his mum’s in my heart.”
Devoted mum Linda, who was first diagnosed with cancer of the appendix 15 years ago, died in the Northern General Hospital after battling the disease again when it returned and spread.
Five weeks later son Karl, a father-of-two aged 40, from Heeley, was on a family holiday in Cleethorpes when he began to feel unwell.
The ‘fun and lovable’ supervisor at filtration firm Dominick Hunter in Handsworth was taken to hospital in Hull but died of a suspected abdominal aortic aneurysm before he could undergo surgery.
More than 350 people attended the funeral last week of Liverpool fan Karl, who played for clubs including Frecheville, Abbey Lane, and Arbourthorne, at City Road Crematorium.
Great-grandad Ken, a driver, added: “When Linda died Karl was absolutely heartbroken and he tried to keep strong - but I think it was such a bitter blow to him.
“The factory shut for half a day for his funeral, that’s how popular he was.
“There isn’t anybody with a bad word to say about either of them, Karl was so popular, managers always wanted him to sign up.
“At the funeral most of the men had tears in their eyes because they loved Karl.
“People have said they’ve never seen so many grown men cry.”
Charity football matches for the British Heart Foundation and a memorial shield are to be set up in Karl’s memory.
Karl’s brother Waine Lucas, 34, of Birley, added: “You couldn’t ask for a better brother.
“Any time I ever needed anything he was there for me. I aspire to be like him and I will miss him forever.”
The family thanked Steve Robinson and Anthony Griffiths at Sheffield Works Department, where Karl’s wake was held, for their support.
Karl leaves partner Diane Baxendale, son Lewis, 16, and daughter Lauren, nine.