Shock as Leicestershire teenager dies after going for a jog
The parents of a boy who died after going for a jog with his best friend have paid tribute to their "gentle giant".
Joe Humphries, 14, collapsed minutes from his home after running in Rothley on Thursday evening.
Passers-by rushed to his aid, but the teenager could not be saved.
Dad Steve, a Leicester City goalkeeper between 1977 and 1981, and mum Angela, said their son was loved by everyone who knew him.
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"He fought for the underdog and hated to see people upset," said Angela, 47.
"At 6ft 3in he was a big guy, but was a gentle giant. He had a big heart but he was quiet – he did an awful lot without you even knowing. He really tried to help other kids."
Angela said her son was "into every sport – karate, swimming, you name it. He was ridiculously fit and healthy".
Moments before the tragedy, Joe, a pupil at De Lisle College, in Loughborough, and his running partner had posed for photographs taken on their mobile phones before they parted ways in Linkfield Road.
Joe then headed home via Whatton Oaks, where he collapsed.
Passers-by could not immediately identify him, but they did recognise him on a photograph on the iPod he was carrying, and ran to alert Steve and Angela.
While people fought to revive Joe, Steve raced to the scene, arriving just after an ambulance had taken his son to Leicester Royal Infirmary.
Steve and Angela, a biomedical scientist, drove to the hospital and it was only there that they found out it was Joe who had died.
Steve, 51, a sports marketing officer at Leicester City Council, said: "I would like to say a massive thank you for the heroic efforts of members of our community who tried in vain to save Joe's life, and the efforts of the emergency services, and the wealth of love and support we've had.
"It has given us great strength during this very difficult time.
"It is a shock we're finding it hard to come to terms with, like any person who loses their children in horrific circumstances. We, as a family, are grieving heavily as we've lost our dear, beloved Joe."
Joe, who also leaves his sister, Lauren, 19, was running in preparation for The Ted Toft Mile for Young People, a race for children which takes place on Victoria Park on Sunday, during the Leicester Marathon.
He planned to run a longer race in the coming months to raise money for Cancer Research, in memory of his grandfather Tony Dolby, who died 11 weeks ago.
Many of Joe's friends have paid tribute online.
On Facebook, friend Tasha King, wrote: "It's unbelievable to see you go at such a young age. You're in a safe place now, you're dearly missed and loved by everyone."
On Twitter, Jessdeanx wrote: "So many respects paid to Joe, it's overwhelming! It just shows you how much of a pleasure he was... rest in peace."