A Perth grandfather at the centre of a desperate international medical evacuation effort is being remembered as a “kind, generous man” following his tragic death in care.
Dave Crocos was surrounded by loved ones in hospital in Brisbane when he took his last breath on Tuesday evening.
Family told 7NEWS.com.au he had succumbed to critical organ failure after contracting a tropical virus while on a dream holiday cruise with his wife Jo.
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“He was a loving, caring father. He had a heart of gold and was a very kind, generous man. He was very dedicated to his work and sports,” grieving son Mathew Bierberg said.
“He always stepped up to help those in need. He taught me so much.”
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Crocos, from Bicton in the city’s southern suburbs, was also a doting grandfather to Bierberg’s daughter Zahara.
“He used to spoil her rotten as she is the only grandchild. She’s really going to miss her Pa,” Bierberg said.
The Melville Softball Club took to social media to pay tribute to Crocos, who they said will be “missed dearly”.
“It’s with great sadness that I am letting you all know about the passing of a long-time member and stalwart of the club, Dave Crocos,” the club said.
“Dave passed away in Brisbane. He unfortunately didn’t quite get to finish the big trip he and Jo were on.”
Dave Crocos has died in a Brisbane hospital after falling sick while on a dream cruise holiday. Credit: 7NEWSCrocos was on holiday with wife Jo when he stumped doctors after falling sick. Credit: Supplied/Mathew Bierberg
Crocos’ grieving family returned home to Perth on Thursday .
The 68-year-old stumped doctors after falling critically ill with a mystery illness while on a well-earned cruise from Los Angeles to Sydney, with stops in Hawaii and Auckland in between.
His family previously revealed that alarm bells were set off when he began suffering from a fever and aches.
Cruise doctors were unable to help and the decision was made to evacuate him to the nearest suitable hospital on land, in American Samoa.
While they knew the situation was grim, doctors on the South Pacific island were unable to identify exactly what was wrong.
They flagged it could be a bladder issue, but were not 100 per cent convinced.
Crocos was a doting grandfather to Zahara. Credit: Supplied/Mathew BierbergThe Melville Softball Club said Crocos will be “missed dearly”. Credit: Supplied/Mathew Bierberg
“Time’s against us,” Bierberg told 7NEWS.com.au last week.
“My mum and sister are with him in hospital, sleeping on the floor. We don’t know if he’s going to survive.”
At the time Crocos was on a ventilator with fluid on his lungs. He was listed as critical.
A planned medevac flight to New Zealand had to be abandoned at the last minute before a new aircraft landing in Brisbane on Saturday was secured.
It was an arduous nine hours of flight time coupled with refuelling stops in Fiji and Noumea.
Puzzling for the family is that Crocos, a recently retired land surveyor, was in good shape and even went for a pre-holiday health check to ensure he was fit to travel.
“This is all a big shock as we expected him to have another good 20 years and were hopeful he could finally enjoy his retirement that he’s worked hard for all his life,” Bierberg said.
Crocos, second from left and pictured wife Jo, had been in good health before the trip. Credit: Supplied
Family revealed Crocos was “so close to being finished” on a major house renovation he’d handled solo.
“He’s the kind of guy that does everything himself rather than get help with building and house projects,” Bierberg said.
“He will be truly missed and Christmas will not be the same this year.
“He’ll be here in our hearts.”
Crocos’ body will be returned home to WA on Friday, when funeral arrangements will begin.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade previously confirmed it had provided consular assistance to an Australian in American Samoa.
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