The grief-stricken family of a young Scottish father-to-be yesterday paid tribute after he died on a stag break abroad.
James Philp, 26, was in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, with friends when he fell ill and passed away earlier this week.
His businessman father Ian Philp, who is managing director of Gillies home furnishings based in Broughty Ferry, paid an emotional tribute to his son, who had survived a life-threatening illness in recent years.
Mr Philp, 58, of Dundee said: “[James] was like the old rubber ball that kept bouncing back.
“He became unwell in January 2007. It emerged that he had viral hepatitis and he had to have a liver transplant on 14 February that year.
“We have often called that James’s second birthday.”
James’s wife Jennifer, who is expecting the couple’s first child, and mother Wendy flew out with Mr Philp to Tallinn after James fell ill on Sunday.
But his condition deteriorated and he passed away.
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Mr Philp said: “James has always been someone who, if he wants something, he does everything to get it. We’re all in total shock.
“He was famous for his smile. Even when he was gravely ill he was smiling. He was always smiling. He didn’t dwell on his illness.”
Mr Philp said James never let his illness get him down. He said: “He went to Dundee High where his passion for rugby developed. It was the driving force in his life. I always think that he stayed on for sixth year because of his love of rugby.”
James, who was known as Snowy, was a volunteer with the local Royal National Lifeboat Institution branch and had taken part in Remembrance parades.
Three years ago, after a stint at Scotland’s Rural college in Auchincruive, Ayrshire, James moved back to Dundee to work in the family business developing their computing system.
Mr Philp added: “He never let his life after the transplant be directed by it. He lived his life to the full. He never let anything get in his way.”
Matthew Fairley, whose stag weekend had been planned by best man James, said James had began to feel unwell on the Sunday of their weekend visit.
He was taken to hospital on Monday after his condition worsened and he died shortly afterwards.
Mr Fairley said: “We flew in on Saturday morning and he had designed a weekend he would love because he knew I would love it too. It was perfect.
“We went for a meal on the Saturday night and then for a few drinks, it was mostly just talking and reminiscing with the guys. It was quite tame really.
“On Sunday we got up, we were more tired than anything, but we went paint-balling and had a great time.
“James said he didn’t feel like eating dinner, he said he was exhausted and didn’t want to go out.”
The following morning he was still unable to eat or drink and an ambulance was called. James’s friends were told of his death by a family member on Tuesday morning.
Mr Fairley said: “We have been friends since the first year at the high school.
“He was my best friend and I have no intentionto replace him at the wedding. He is still my best man.”
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