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Crowdfunding page set up to bring home body of East Ham man who died in Oklahoma

PUBLISHED: 08:28 01 June 2017 | UPDATED: 08:29 01 June 2017

Family Tony, Janice and Kristina Girling want to raise enough money to bring Joseph Girling home for burial from the U.S after he died suddenly after two seizures resulting from an enlarged heart

Family Tony, Janice and Kristina Girling want to raise enough money to bring Joseph Girling home for burial from the U.S after he died suddenly after two seizures resulting from an enlarged heart

Archant

The family of an East Ham man who died suddenly in the United States have begun a crowdfunding campaign to bring his body home.

Joseph GirlingJoseph Girling

Joseph Girling, 40, suffered a fatal seizure on Saturday (May 27) due to an enlargement of the heart while at home with his husband in Oklahoma.

His devastated relatives estimate they need to raise £10,000 to cover the costs of bringing Joseph’s body home to Newham as the former fashion retailer had no prior insurance.

“That is the only thing that has been keeping my mum going for the last few days,” explained his 28-year-old sister Kristina.

“There is very little we can do, we are so far away.”

She added: “He has no family out there. We just need him home.”

Kristina says “sociable” Joseph had already planned to return home in September following his move to America last year.

“My brother was struggling and had no friends, he wanted to come home,” said Kristina.

Preparations were already underway when Joseph’s 61-year-old mum Janice Girling, of Langdon Crescent, East Ham, received a text late on Saturday night (UK time) informing her of her son’s unexpected death.

Kristina said: “Joseph had a first seizure while watching TV but said ‘I’m fine, everything is fine’ as he didn’t realise what had happened.”

She added: “A couple of hours later he had another seizure and was dead before any medical help arrived.”

The family have raised £4,590 since launching a fundraising page at the weekend and are liaising with a company to repatriate Joseph’s body to the UK.

Kristina said she was grateful for the support that her mum and her siblings, Tony, 43 and Terri-Anne, 37, have received so far but hopes to reach the total with the public’s help.

Joseph, who was said to have an IQ of between 140 and 150, was described by his sister as a keen traveller who “loved adventure”.

“He was the life and soul of the party – the chatty one who made friends easily,” she said.

“He was there to support his friends, he was just what a friend and family member should be.”

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