South Shields dad dies after collapsing on holiday and battling infection

Luke Wilkinson and wife Di with children Jude and Finn.
Luke Wilkinson and wife Di with children Jude and Finn.

A man from South Tyneside who was flown home from holiday for a liver transplant has lost his battle for life.

Luke Wilkinson, 37, from South Shields, passed away at the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle.

The engineering consultant, originally from the Marsden area of the town, collapsed while on holiday 
in Singapore with his wife Di, 34, and children Jude, five, and Finn, three, last month.

The family had moved to Kuala Lumpur when Luke took a job at an oil and gas company before he fell ill five months ago.

He had contracted several infections while working abroad and was on medication to treat them.

But on what was supposed to be a relaxing break at the Siloso Beach Resort, he collapsed and was diagnosed with liver failure as a result of the medication he was receiving.

Luke was flown home to the Freeman Hospital and was thought to need a liver transplant urgently.

While in Singapore, the former Harton Technology College pupil, had been accepted into the Freeman Hospital and put on the transplant list.

But Professor Derek Manas, who is the consultant hepatobiliary and transplant surgeon at the Freeman, confirmed that Luke would not need a liver transplant at that moment.

The surgeon said Luke was suffering from a pre-existing medical condition which left him open to infections, and a virus had caused the liver problems.

Loved ones believed he was on the road to recovery, when he sadly took a turn for the worse and lost his life last Wednesday.

A family member told the Gazette: “He was on the road to recovery as far as we were aware, and Professor Manas even gave a statement saying that he no longer needed to have a transplant.

“He was on medication to fight the infections, but it wasn’t working.

“Doctors did a liver biopsy to find out why and he suffered a bleed as a result. A few days later he had to go on a life support machine and he suffered multi-organ failure.

“It’s been a living nightmare. He’s going to be missed so much by Di and their sons Jude and Finn, his dad Derek and his mum Christine and her partner John, his brother Neil, sister-in-law Danielle, their children Brook, Sharna and Owen, Di’s brother Christy, his wife Brooke and their children Roman and Freddie, and Di’s mam Nataya.”

The family say a post mortem examination will be carried out to help determine the cause of Luke’s death.

They are currently making preparations for his funeral and would like to thank everyone for their support at a difficult time.