Dad who had giant 10lb tumour removed dies suddenly in sleep leaving family devastated

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE Kevin O’Neil, 52, passed away following a long battle with the incredibly rare disease which only 15 people in the world have

Kevin O'Neil
Ill health had taken its toll on Kevin’s body, but his death came “out of the blue” for his devastated family

A dad-of-two who had a gigantic tumour weighing 10lb removed from his back has died suddenly in his sleep.

Kevin O’Neil, 52, was one of just 15 people on the planet to have the condition, called Myopericytoma, a cancer of the soft tissues.

Kevin, from Inverkeithing, had spent a decade battling pain before doctors discovered he had the rare disease. In 2015 he underwent an extraordinary operation to remove the monster tumour.

A team of 15 surgeons removed the gigantic mass in an amazing 10-hour operation. The mammoth procedure allowed former union organsier Kevin to see his two boys Jack, 24, and Nathan, 8, grow up.

Treatments for benign tumors saw doctors taking out six of Kevin’s ribs, two-thirds of his shoulder blade, moving muscle from his lower back, and rebuilding his chest – all of which left him suffering from chronic pain, reports the Daily Record.

Ill health had taken its toll on Kevin’s body, but his death came “out of the blue” for his devastated family.

His wife Kirsty found his body on Saturday morning (February 5) and a post-mortem is now taking place.

A team of 15 surgeons removed the gigantic mass in an amazing 10-hour operation in 2015


Daily Record)

Hi son Jack told the Record: “It seems so out of the blue. My dad has been really ill at different points in the last 10 years but it wasn’t anything like that, he just died in his sleep suddenly.

“There had been a lot of times when my step-mum Kirsty called to say she had taken him to the hospital and I thought his passing was imminent.

Kevin had been battling with his health for many years, but his family were shocked when he suddenly passed away in his sleep


Daily Record)

“He struggled a lot but even when I saw him a couple of weeks ago he seemed well.

“But everything that he had gone through had taken a toll on his body. We’re just thankful he died peacefully.

“I don’t think people realise just how bad the chronic pain was he had to live with. He picked up my brother every day from school and was always busy organising fundraisers – he did so much even when he was ill.

“He was my hero and I’ve never seen such courage.”

Kevin’s health problems began in 2006 when he was training for a charity cycle from Land’s End to John O’ Groats.

And despite having to medically retire from his role at Unison, he continued with fundraising efforts for Maggie’s Macmillian cancer and Sarcoma, including staging a music festival.

With a passion for politics, he was one of the youngest candidates in the country to stand for local election when he was 18 for the Labour, before joining the SNP and running for selection with the party.

He also was one of the founders of the campaign group ‘Action for Prestonhill’ after his brother died in an accident at the Inverkeithing quarry in 1973.

Tributes have poured in from across Scotland including prominent politicians such SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford MP.

“Thinking of you and your family, Jack. So sorry for your loss,” he said.

Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman said: “So, so sad to hear this news. Kevin was an inspiration to all who had the privilege to know him. Thinking of Kirsty, Nathan, Jack and all family and friends. RIP Big Man.”

Surgeons cut out the 10lb tumour to save Kevins life


Daily Record)

Jack added: “My dad really was an amazing guy – I can’t believe the number of people from all walks of life who have been in touch saying he touched their lives.

“He was an extraordinary man who dedicated much of his life to helping others. He always told me how proud he was of me, I just hope he knew how proud I was of him.

“In the face of a horrific rare illness, invasive and traumatic treatments, and unrelenting chronic pain he did his utmost to act as a pillar of strength for our family, raise my 8-year-old brother, Nathan, and be an amazing Dad to us both.

“He’s left a massive hole.”

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