BREAKING: Doting dad dies from brutal Gympie street stabbing
HE WAS a devoted father of five, a loving partner, a protective big brother and a mate who would do anything for anyone.
But yesterday, Tylor "TJ” Bell became the casualty of a brutal daylight Gympie street stabbing, passing away in hospital after he was savagely slashed through the chest and heart while waiting at a red light with his father on Father's Day last Sunday.
The 31-year-old Bells Bridge father of five "died” in Gympie Hospital before he was revived and airlifted to Brisbane for emergency open-heart surgery.
But with massive blood loss, he lost oxygen to the brain and was pronounced brain dead.
His partner Jess Hannaford was asked to say her goodbyes, until Tylor showed signs of breathing some breaths on his own and had a faintly positive reaction to a pain test.
After clinging to life for a week, Jess lost her childhood sweetheart.
"We had one day of hope and then he declined. I was with him when they did the final test to say he was definitely gone,” she said today.
"I don't even know how I'm going to do life without him,” she said.
"We've been together on and off since we were 14 - since in grade 8. We would have glued ourselves to each other's hips if we could have.
"The love I have for him is like nothing else.”
She said she would not forget how blessed she was though, with five children to remind her of him.
"They just loved their dad and their dad loved them. My three-year-old girl would just follow him around.
"We had our ups and downs - but more ups than downs.
"Our six-year-old son has a brain injury from birth and we have a son who is ADHD, ODD and AHD - so we've battled through that.”
Yesterday long-term friend Nell Lappin received the news about the man with the "cheeky-grin” she loved like a brother.
It stripped the last glimmer of hope she and a tight network of friends and family had held for Tylor's survival.
Nell had formed a life-long bond with Tylor when his parents took her in as a teenager when she had nowhere to go.
"He was like a brother,” she said.
"If you felt down, you'd always leave (after seeing him) with a smile on your face.”
"He was one of a kind - he would do anything for you. If he was your mate, you were his mate.”
She said the sorrow she felt for Jess and their children Seth, Deacon, Ty, Zaiden and Lilas was immense.
"He was a loving dad of five - four boys and one girl. I know that he doted over them. His family was his life.”
Nell said Jess had been keeping a week-long bedside vigil, while friends and family looked after the children.
"It's been pretty hard for her - she's been in there since the day he went in.
"She's struggling right now. Five children have lost their dad now. He lived for his kids.
"All I can think of is, it was Father's Day. Of all days, for it to happen then - his father's got to remember it.”
Tylor's parents had been by his side the past week too, Jess said.
"His mum and dad are absolutely gutted - he does everything for them. He's their rock and now he's just gone.”
"He was the sort of person who would give you the shirt off his back. He doesn't do drugs, doesn't party, he just kept to himself and he was a real family man. He was just one of kind.
"Tylor didn't deserve any of this and my kids don't deserve any of this.
"It was really, really senseless...17 years - how do you adjust. How do you adjust to that?”
A man has been charged in relation to this incident.