A FOOTBALL fan once dubbed Britain’s fattest man died after a suspected heart attack, his family revealed today.
Barry Austin, 52, took the title when he weighed 65 stone, but had become bed bound and tried to slim down for his health in recent years.
The former cabbie, of Chelmsley Wood, Birmingham, was forced to eat Christmas lunch in bed while his family celebrated around the table of his home.
Partner Debbie, 50, cooked Turkey for the family on Christmas Eve and his family got the popular father and granddad vouchers for Xbox games.
But he was dashed to hospital after suffering a fall at the property in Birmingham this week and he sadly died on January 1.
Tragically Debbie couldn’t be with him in hospital due to Covid restrictions.
‘SUCH A SHOCK’
Relative Kirsty Steer, married to Barry’ stepson Marcus Kirby, told The Sun: “It was such a shock and all very sudden.
“Debbie is heartbroken, we all are. It’s all a bit raw.
“He was a lovely bloke, chatty and good fun and well loved by everyone. He had a heart attack and had also fallen.
“He had been fine a few days before. He had been reasonably well and in good spirits.
“He had a good Christmas.”
Debbie was too upset to talk last night but their devastated daughter Danielle told The Sun her dad had been “struggling with his legs” after losing a lot of weight.
She said: “We don’t know what he weighed because he hadn’t got on the scales for years. Because of the weight loss he was struggling with his legs and it was taking a toll on his body.
“My mum is really struggling with his death.”
Tributes poured in today for “wonderful” Barry who had a “heart of gold”.
Barry had once starred in Sky One documentary Inside Britain’s Fattest Man.
At one point, he consumed up to 29,000 calories a day and drank up to 12 litres of fizzy drink in a day, swelling to 65 stone.
Lifelong Birmingham City fan Barry later lost 20 stone after health problems, slashing his daily calorie intake to 1,500.
In recent years Barry was said to struggle with breathing issues and infections.
Earlier, heartbroken Danielle posted on Facebook: “Absolutely heartbroken is the only word I can say how I feel right about now.
“Rest in paradise to the big man of my life my dad Barry Grizzly Austin.
“I loved u like u was and its how we treated one another.
“You was the kinda dad that was always there no matter what. We had our ups and downs, but can honestly say I never loved u any different.
“Either way its gonna be hard to deal with u no longer being around.
“To see my mom the way she is – horrible. The whole family is just crumbled.”
Barry, who used to drink up to 40 pints of beer and bottles of spirits on a night out, was known as ‘Fat Baz’ and had his own column in a lad’s mag.
He was said to have shed 20 stone back in April 2012 as he prepared to marry his fiancée Debbie Kirby, 50, from Solihull, West Midlands.
Footie fan Barry even had his own custom-built chair at Birmingham City’s ground in 1997.
A spokesman for Birmingham City tweeted: “We are saddened to hear of the passing of lifelong Bluenose Barry Austin.
“His love for Blues was unquestionable. May you rest in peace, Baz.”
One City fan wrote: “RIP big Barry Austin.Sad news to kick the year off. KRO lad, fly high.”
Wolves’ fan Twitter page The Wolfpack hailed him as “a wonderful man with a heart of gold”.
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In 2012, Barry got down on one knee to propose to Debbie, saying: “I’ll feel like the luckiest man in the world to call Debbie my wife.”
Debbie said: “Barry’s still a big lad — but it’s what’s on the inside that matters. For me it’s all about personality.”
He once starred in Sky One documentary Inside Britain’s Fattest Man.