A FOOTIE fan who ordered takeaway pizzas from his hospital bed was in a desperate race to lose weight in the days before he ballooned to 60 stone and died.
Tragic Matthew Crawford – dubbed Britain's fattest man and affectionately nicknamed Fat Kid – passed away at a specialist residential home.
Matthew, who hit 60 stone in the final months of his life, once sparked fury for blocking four hospital beds despite being fit enough to leave.
He was also convicted of assaulting four nurses looking after him.
But as his health deteriorated he refused to be admitted to hospital and instead chose to die at the care home in the north west.
Matthew, who was costing the NHS £7,000 a week for a rented reinforced bed, died last Thursday morning after a long battle with obesity.
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A source said: "He struggled to get the weight off and at one stage was 60st.
"In the months before he died he'd managed to lose a few stones but was still around the 55st mark. It's tragic.
"He was a massive footie fan and loved Lincoln City. Everyone has a story to tell about him – this is such a shock.
"You feared for him because of his weight but 37 is no age for someone to die."
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On Tuesday Matthews favourite club, Lincoln City, paid tribute to the"larger than life" fan.
The club told The Sun: “He was certainly a larger than life character who left an impact on everyone he met.
"He will be deeply missed and the thoughts of everyone at the club are with his family at this sad time.”
While last night fans Lincoln City fans also paid tribute to the supporter who was once a regular at home and away matches.
Lee Howe said on Facebook: "Rest in peace Matthew Crawford aka Fatkid.
"At peace with your dad now mate."
Daniel Hall wrote: "As much of a bellend he was, especially to nurses, the lad was a legend…
"I'll never forget the time we were going Newport away and he slipped on ice and nobody could help him up for laughing and being drunk.
"Or the time he was kicked out of the south stand. He said: 'Fine, fine…let go and I'll leave'. He then sat down on the floor and said: 'I'll leave if you can make me'."
Mansfield Town fan Russ Clarkson wrote: "You couldn’t miss him when he was in the crowd at Stags – larger than life in every sense. RIP Lincoln."
Kristina Kaz said: "Still shocked to hear this. Such a kind, gentle lad. R.I.P Matt."
Larger than life in every sense
Matthew's mum, Linda Belshaw, was too upset to comment at the family home.
But she denied claims by staff that she ordered takeaways to be sent to him on the ward.
She said in October 2018: “He’s waiting to move (to a care home). They are just waiting for the equipment to be installed.”
Her son, who was originally from Newark, Notts., was admitted to Pathfinders Neurological Care in Ollerton, Notts., in 2017 as his weight ballooned.
But whilst he was there he assaulted four nurses.
Matthew, who blew his £650-a-month benefits on pizzas and Chinese takeaways delivered to his bedside, was charged with common assault.
But he was unable to attend court because of his obesity.
His solicitor Michael Little told magistrates: "The reason why he is there is that it is the only place which has a hoist that can lift him for cleaning.
"It takes in excess of eight people to clean him otherwise.
"They do have ambulances big enough to support him, but then the consideration becomes how to get him into court.
"He is bed-ridden, and can’t walk at all. He has an infection in his legs which has caused nerve damage and he is immobile."
District judge Andrew Meachin said: “It would take an inordinate amount of manpower to get him here."
Matthew, who had previously assaulted a police officer, was discharged from the home weighing 31stone but rapidly returned to 51 stone.
By 2018 he was admitted to King's Mill Hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield.
But he sparked fury within months after it was revealed he was occupying a four-bed bay to fit in the equipment needed to move him around – despite being well enough to go home.
Matthew was handed a discharge letter but remained at the hospital because staff were unable to find a suitable social care unit for him to be moved to.
In the space of six months his stay cost the NHS £250,000.
Matthew also attracted criticism after he posed with a bottle of champagne in his hospital gown and bragged about his benefits package.
He posted snaps of his 65-inch TV on Facebook and even claimed to have joined the British National Party.
Responding to claims he spent his benefits on takeaways he said: "Just want to set the record straight, I don’t spend all my money on takeaways.
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"I might get 300 quid a fortnight but I spend over 100 quid every fortnight on food shopping.
"If people tasted the food in this place you would know why I buy my own food."
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