Sister’s heartbreaking tribute to cricketer who died suddenly during a match aged 24

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AN OLYMPIC gymnast has paid heartbreaking tribute to her cricketer brother after he died suddenly during a match.

Josh Downie, 24, from Nottingham, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest whilst playing cricket at a ground in Liverpool in May 2021 after struggling with an undiagnosed condition.

British Heart FoundationJosh Downie, 24, tragically passed away from an undiagnosed heart condition in 2021[/caption]

British Heart FoundationJosh’s sister’s, Becky and Ellie, alongside their parents in front of his mural in Nottingham[/caption]

British Heart FoundationJosh is seen wearing an England shirt with the message ‘England ‘Til I Died’ as part of the British Heart Foundation’s most recent campaign[/caption]

Despite CPR attempts and being taken to hospital, Josh could not be saved after falling victim to an inherited heart condition called arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM).

Three years on from his passing, however, and a mural has been unveiled in Nottingham as part of a new campaign by the British Heart Foundation.

Erected to help raise awareness of sudden cardiac death, the touching piece of street art in Sneinton Market has left its mark on his closest friends and family.

Josh’s sister, Olympic gymnast Becky Downie, said she hopes the mural will “keep his legacy alive”.

Speaking to the Nottingham Post, she said: “You hear about things like this happening – but you never, ever think it’s going to happen to your family.

“Josh was just a happy, bubbly person and his personality really shone through.

“Since his passing, everyone who knew him has been saying he was just one of those people who made a big impact everywhere he went.

“He was also really caring and wanted to help people wherever he could.

“It was a massive shock losing Josh and I remember just feeling really confused. It was so completely out of the blue.”

A keen footballer and avid Chelsea supporter when he was younger, Josh’s attention soon turned to cricket when he was a teenager.

Around a year before his death, he moved to Liverpool to teach sports at a school for underprivileged children.

Following his passing, his family had the chance to meet some of the young people whose lives had changed for the better by the former cricketer.

Despite Josh growing up in an athletic household, none of his immediate family were screened for ACM, nor were there were any instant signs of the condition.

But following the life-changing incident, his family insist they will continue to be monitored throughout the rest of their lives.

His sister, Becky, recalls the shock of being told there was a 50/50 chance her and her family could also suffer the same fate.

“Especially being athletes and having to think about how it would affect our careers,” she said.

She continued: “My understanding now is that ACM is a condition that can present later in life, so we’ll just continue to be monitored and tested.

“But I guess the positive thing is that at least we have an awareness of it and an understanding of the condition now.”

Family HandoutJosh had changed many kids lives through his job as a sports teacher[/caption]

Getty Images – GettyHis sisters, Olympic gymnast duo Becky and Ellie Downie, have been using their platform to raise funds for British Heart Foundation[/caption]

GettyThe duo pose after being made Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) during an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle earlier this year[/caption]

Speaking on the mural, Becky believes Josh would be “proud” of it and claims that it was an “emotional” moment seeing it in person.

“Josh was a massive part of our family and always will be – and we just want to keep his legacy alive,” she said.

Josh’s mural is actually one of 12 unveiled across the country as part of the BHF campaign.

He is pictured wearing an England t-shirt with the slogan “England ’til I died,” as the Three Lions prepared to open their EURO 2024 campaign last weekend.

Just days after the tournament kicked-off, Josh’s other sister Ellie and her brother Alex took on the BHF’s London to Brighton Bike Ride to raise funds for more research into heart and circulatory diseases.

Both sisters frequently use their platforms to raise awareness of heart conditions.

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: “Too many lives, like Josh’s, are being taken too soon by sudden cardiac death.

“No one should have to experience the loss of their child, sibling, or parent, but sadly that is the cruel reality of heart disease – it doesn’t discriminate.”

Dr Griffiths added how Josh’s mural serves as a reminder of the young football fans that have been snatched away by sudden cardiac death.

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