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Young Belfast boxer dies suddenly at home

4 December 09 09:43 GMT

A young boxer from west Belfast has died, just days after resuming his boxing career.

Gary Craig, 25, died suddenly in his bed on Wednesday night. He was watching a DVD with his fiancee when he had a seizure.

His family believe he was the victim of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS).

"There is something happening to a lot of young men. They're fit, they're healthy and then they are gone," said his fiancee Deborah Herdman.

"Athletes who are fit and healthy and everything they are supposed to be. It's just taking them away quickly and there are no signs coming up to it."

Gary had returned to the boxing ring last week after a five-year break, winning his first bout.

A number of other prominent sportsmen, including Tyrone GAA captain Cormac McAnallen, have died from sudden death syndrome in recent years.

In most cases SADS relates to an underlying heart condition but it is not yet clear if a heart problem or other factors led to Mr Craig's death.

John Lundy lost his son to SADS 10 years ago and now works with the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young, he said more screening was needed.

"All we know is that these young people have underlying heart conditions," said Mr Lundy.

"The only way it can be identified is through screening."

The charity runs screening clinics at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown. The next session is on 23 and 24 January 2010.

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