Family devastated after man's shock death from infection
A YOUNG man who has died from diphtheria has been remembered as one of the best three-point shooters in Cairns basketball history.
Randy Ware, 27, died at Prince Charles Hospital on Sunday after being flown to Brisbane from Cairns Hospital in a critical condition on January 24.
Mr Ware was unvaccinated against diphtheria, and only the first person in Queensland recorded to have succumbed to the bacterial infection since 2011.
The normally fit and healthy man's shocked family is struggling to come to terms with his passing, initially believing him to have been sick with tonsillitis before his condition worsened.
His sister Elfreda told the Cairns Post the family had since all been vaccinated against diphtheria, and urged other people to do the same.
"The bug actually attacked Randy's heart," she said. "It could have gone to his lungs, but it went to his heart and attacked it, so there was not much of a heart beat for Randy to fight it back."
She remembered Randy as a happy-go-lucky man, who lived for playing basketball.
Mr Ware had been a member of Cairns Basketball for the past 13 years, and was well known as a star shooter.
Cairns Basketball operations manager Michael Scott said they were shocked and saddened to hear of his passing.
"Randy represented Cairns Basketball at an under-18 State Championship, and was a member of our under-23 Marlins team," he said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ware family."
Joel Khalu, who had known Mr Ware for more than a decade, said his skills on the court, in particular his long-distance shooting, were unsurpassed.
"I would say he'd be one of the best three-point shooters in the history of Cairns basketball players," he said.
He said many players were devastated by the loss.
"He's just one of those guys that had a passion for life, always had a smile on his face," he said. "While he was a quiet person, you always knew when he was on the basketball court or in a room just by his smile."