Gary Speed’s sons recall heartbreaking moment their dad took his own life
Gary Speed's sons, Tommy and Ed, have both spoken openly about the moment they found out their dad had taken his own life.
The then Wales manager was just 42-years-old and left behind two teenage sons and wife, Louise.
Both Tommy and Ed believe their dad had "the perfect life" having surrounded himself with loved ones after transitioning from a player to a manager.
It was Ed who first came across his mother on that morning before they both went upstairs to tell Tommy.
The boys were just 14 and 13 at the time but have opened up on the heartbreaking series of events.
Ed, the eldest, revealed: “I remember it vividly. Mum and Dad went out for the night and me and Tommy had a few friends over.
“As they left, Dad reminded us to make sure we were in bed by midnight and that was it.
“The next morning I was woken up by Mum screaming for me, or just screaming, I can’t quite remember.
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“She was outside and she had seen Dad through the window of the garage.
“I ran downstairs and she was struggling to breathe and talk. You know, you don’t want to see your mum like that. No one does.
“She was just in shock. She told me not to look in the garage but…it still haunts me what I saw… Dad suffering like that.
“I went back out to Mum and we called the ambulance. I wasn’t really thinking about what was happening, I just knew I needed to help Mum.
“We were in the kitchen speaking to the person on the other end and they talked us through what to do. It was just so unexpected.
"A complete and utter shock. I couldn’t really comprehend what was going on but at the same time I had so many questions.
“Mum and I knew we had to go and tell Tom.”
"They came into my bedroom and woke me up," Tommy added.
"Ed just said, ‘Dad’s gone’ and we all hugged. Ed told us that we had to stay strong.
“Dad was the glue that held the whole family together.
“He was always the one who was running family barbecues, getting people together, telling jokes, organising games. He loved being around people who he loved, and he loved us.”
Speed's playing career spanned 22 years and resulted in 841 appearances for five different clubs.
He won the old First Division with Leeds in 1992 before playing for Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United.
He was also capped 85 times by his country before taking charge of them in 2010.
Both his sons, who are now 23 and 22 respectively, have a huge amount of gratitude for the lessons their father taught them.
And as they navigate their life both wish they had the opportunity to share their successes with him.
Tommy said: “I learned everything from him.
“It would just be nice to thank him for all that he did for us both.”
Ed added: “We’ve got to get on with it, with life. It’s hard. You often think, ‘would he be happy with what we’ve done?’ or ‘would he be proud?’.
“Sometimes, if I’ve played a good game of football, I want to look at my phone and see that it’s my dad calling to say “well done”.
"When I graduated with a degree in economics in the summer, I would have liked nothing more than my dad to call me and tell me how proud he was. I know he would be. That’s all he wanted for us.
"I’d love to know if he thinks we’ve done OK without him.”
“We both know that things would be different if he was still here. He was everything to us, but we also know we have to get on with life.
“I can still hear his voice in my head. That will always be a part of us.”
In the aftermath of his death plenty of questions were asked, including by Tommy and Ed who still seek answers.
They both admit to feeling anger at times, but they try not to hold on to the negative emotion.
Ed said: “The anger never lasts long. I just miss him. I miss my dad.”
Tommy added: “It feels mean to say I’m angry at him, but sometimes… yeah. But you can’t look back and let that eat you up.
“I still ask questions. We both still ask those questions. We’d be mad not to. He wasn’t depressed. There was just something in his brain. I have always said I can’t quite put my finger on it."
Sport as a whole has looked to encourage those involved to talk openly about their struggles as mental health awareness continues to grow.
Speed was often happy to share with those close to him and it has left Ed questioning why he didn't.
He added: “Dad had the perfect life, but something was going on, or something happened and, for whatever reason, he didn’t look for help.
“That wasn’t him. He would always talk about things but, when it came down to it, he didn’t and I don’t know why.
“I can’t explain it now because he just had so much to look forward to.”
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