Seriously ill man dies in fiancee's arms soon after engagement

A post-morten found Mr Foulds had a 15cm tumour in his bowel. Photo / Facebook
A post-morten found Mr Foulds had a 15cm tumour in his bowel. Photo / Facebook

A 'lovely' father of two died in his fiancee's arms on a flight back to Britain just 24 hours after the pair got engaged at the Grand Canyon during a 'holiday of a lifetime'.

Martyn Foulds and Sally Mondryk, of Halifax, West Yorkshire, were enjoying a 'once in a lifetime' trip to the U.S. when the 55-year-old fell seriously ill in Los Angeles.

Just 24 hours before he began vomiting and suffering back pain, Ms Mondryk had proposed to her partner - popping the question at the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

They had planned to visit Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Florida during their trip but were forced to cut short their holiday when the senior Lloyds bank manager fell ill.

They managed to get an earlier flight home from LA but Mr Foulds took a turn for the worse on the plane and died in his new fiancee's arms - in front of 300 passengers.

He even told Ms Mondryk 'I'm dying' before tragically passing away in her arms.

Mr Foulds took a turn for the worse on the plane and died in his fiancee's arms. Photo / Facebook
Mr Foulds took a turn for the worse on the plane and died in his fiancee's arms. Photo / Facebook


Speaking from their home in Halifax, she said: 'I felt numb - it was disbelief and almost as if I was watching someone else [die].

'That was the worst thing - 300 people were watching him die.'

Mr Foulds had been backwards and forwards to doctors in the UK after developing several urine infections before the trip.

He hadn't been well since June and was even admitted to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary in July.

Doctors found he had a fistula, which means that a hole had developed between his bowel and his bladder, after a variety of tests.

He was awaiting an operation to fix the issue but medics said he could go on the holiday which the couple had booked a year in advance.

The pair flew out to the U.S. on October 15 but just days into the trip he fell unwell.

Describing her partner's problems, Ms Mondryk said: 'He was OK for the first couple of days, just the general niggling pains he lived with all the time and then he started being sick.

'He had lost his appetite and hadn't really been eating, so the fact he was being sick was a bit unusual.

'It was getting worse and we woke up on the Thursday morning and he said 'I think we might need to try and get a flight home, I really don't feel well'.'

The couple booked a flight back to Gatwick, but when they arrived at Los Angeles International Airport, Mr Foulds collapsed at the check-in desk before their 11-hour flight home.

Ms Mondryk said: 'It was horrific, but he wanted to get home at that point so I just followed his wishes.

'My instinct was to get an ambulance, but he kept saying he could sleep on the plane and he would get help when he got home.

'About four hours in, he was complaining of back pain and he was struggling to breathe properly by that point.'

A call-out for medics was issued on the flight and two doctors and two nurses came forward to help, but his condition continued to worsen and he collapsed again.

She said: 'At that point, he actually said 'I think I'm dying'. It was horrific.

'I got him back to his seat and about another hour in he started breathing funny. Everybody was looking at him.

'I had his head in my hands - he kept trying to move me and I wouldn't.

'I was making him look at me, his eyes kept drifting off and I kept asking him if he was alright. He'd come back and say he was fine and then, he just died.

'Two doctors hoisted him out of the chair and got him to the back of the plane as fast as they could.'

The captain turned the plane around and headed to the nearest airport, which was just over an hour away in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Canada.

Medics performed CPR on Mr Foulds until the plane landed, at which point he was pronounced dead.

To add to her devastating ordeal, Ms Mondryk had to leave her partner in Canada while a post-mortem was carried out.

It found that he had been living with an advanced 15cm tumour on his bowel, which hadn't been picked up by previous scans at the hospital.

His bowel had ruptured because of the tumour and he also had metastasis of the liver.

Now Ms Mondryk and her family are waiting for his body to be flown back to the UK so they can make funeral arrangements.

While they aren't able to organise anything at the moment, they are determined to give him a 'big party'.

Paying tribute to 'lovely and well driven' partner, she said: 'He cared about everyone else more than himself, hence why he probably didn't go to the doctor sooner.

'He had the most booming laugh and everybody has said they will miss that.

'On one of our first dates we went to a comedy club and he made me sit on the front row.

'He started laughing and I was sinking into my shoulders - and I'd give anything to hear that laugh now.

'He was very caring and very honest. He'd help everybody else, before he helped himself.

'I have some fantastic memories of the holiday, obviously some very sad ones too, but he got to show me what he wanted to show me.

'We had a brilliant future planned and things had just got to where we needed them to be.'

Mr Foulds is survived by his children Luke and Imogen and Ms Mondryk's children Jake, Max, Harry and Daisy.

- Daily Mail

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