A DEVASTATED teenager discovered her dad’s body in bed after he suffered a massive heart attack aged just 39.
Neil Suggitt was laughing and joking with family members just hours before his life was tragically cut short.
The former bodybuilder, who has suffered with heart problems for the last three years, complained of feeling unwell shortly before he went to bed and sadly lost his life overnight.
Today his devastated family paid tribute to the “loving, cheeky, practical joker”.
His heartbroken parents, Raymond and Renee, spoke of their pride for their son.
Daughter Nicole Suggitt, 18, looked back on the discovery of her dad’s body and told how she thought he was just playing a joke on her.
“I walked in to his room and told him to get up,” said brave Nicole, a student at Hartlepool College of Further Education.
“I went to the bathroom then went back into the bedroom and realised what had happened.”
Nicole immediately called her grandparents and paramedics raced to the scene, but pronounced him dead.
Nicole, who grew up living with Neil, is determined to finish her college studies and go on to university, exactly what her dad would have wanted.
She clutched a canvas photo of Neil with one of his three beloved Japanese Akita dogs.
Nicole gave it to her animal-loving dad as a gift at Christmas, which he described as “the best present ever”.
His heartbroken family say he loved his dogs and he even once left hospital the day after complicated surgery to be back at home with them.
Despite his condition his family said Neil, who lived in the town’s Milbank Road, was “always active”.
In his teenage years he was a keen bodybuilder and kept fit in his gym at home.
Three years ago he was rushed to hospital after a heart complaint and had two stents fitted, but since the surgery has maintained his active lifestyle.
He spent the afternoon of Friday, February 3, at his mum and dad’s house, in Hillston Close, Hartlepool, and was his “usual self, laughing and joking.”
But at around 10.30pm he called his mum to say he was not feeling too well and took his medication before he went to bed.
Devastated mum, Renee, 64, a retired hairdresser, said: “It’s just awful.
“Neil was loving, he was a family guy.
“He had his moments like everyone, but he was a cheeky, practical joker. He gave us some laughs.”
Dad Raymond, 65, a retired chemical plant worker, added: “Neil always kept active, he was very fit.
“I don’t think it’s hit us as to what’s happened yet.
“We have some fantastic memories, he made us proud.”
Neil, a former student at High Tunstall College of Science, previously worked as a painter and decorator in the town and was also a dad to Danielle O’Rourke, 16, Jackson Loins, 15, and Cheniece Loins, 13.
He also leaves behind his three brothers, Paul, 44, Raymond, 41, and Lee, 28.
“He was very popular,” added mum Renee.
“He will be sorely missed by a lot of people.
“The response we have had since his death has been unbelievable.
“People from all over the world have been getting in touch, we want to thank everybody for their brilliant support.”
Neil’s funeral was held yesterday at Stranton Grange Crematorium, in Hartlepool.