A 31-year-old Leyland dad died of swine flu the day before he was due to propose to his girlfriend.
Michael Armer, of Broadfield Drive, had planned to buy his long-term partner Heather Downham a ring before getting down on one knee.
But less than 24 hours before he was due to pop the question, he was found dead on his living room sofa.
Today, his heartbroken father has spoken of the devastating moment he realised his son had gone forever.
Speaking after an inquest into his death on January 1, dad Bernard said: “Michael said he couldn’t go out on New Year’s Eve because he was feeling so bad.
“So he sent all of his family, his girlfriend and his kids a message to wish them a happy New Year.
“That day I came downstairs and I didn’t even know he was lying on the sofa. I went to put the light on in the living room and he was there.
“I thought he was fast asleep. I went over to slap him on the leg and tell him to get up and all I saw were blue lips. I knew he had gone.”
Michael had been complaining of flu-like symptoms in the week leading up to his death, and had been confined to his bed, only getting up to get drinks of water.
He even missed a Christmas dinner at his sister Tina’s house.
Bernard said: “He stayed in his bedroom all day that week. He didn’t do anything. He just slept and drank. It wasn’t like him at all. Usually he was so happy-go-lucky.
“He was going to go out to get his girlfriend a ring, but he couldn’t leave the house.
“He was going to go to the doctors too, but he cancelled because he didn’t want to go out, he was feeling so bad.”
- For the full story, see this week’s Leyland Guardian.