'˜He was so kind and funny...a lovely man'
The family of a businessman struck down in his prime are facing a desperate wait for answers after the seemingly healthy 37-year-old's sudden death.
Antonio Martin-Melero, owner of Meditteranean family restaurant Mi Casa Su Casa on Red Bank Road, died on Thursday shortly after complaining of a sore throat, which he put down to tonsillitis.
He was just three weeks short of celebrating his first wedding anniversary with his wife, Victoria, 27.
She said: “He had a bit of a sore throat and in the middle of the night he started having difficulties with breathing.
“From when he woke me up to when the ambulance came he deteriorated very quickly.”
Antonio was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital, where he was pronounced dead in the early hours of the morning.
His family have now paid tribute to the ‘hard-working’ businessman as they wait to discover the cause of his tragic death.
Victoria said: “His whole life was his family and his business. He was very kind, charismatic and cheeky.
“Everyone is heartbroken.
“He was really fit and healthy. To look at him you’d think he wasn’t the sort of person something like this could happen to.
“He had a sore throat but we just thought it was tonsillitis. He was going to go to the doctors the next day. It happened so suddenly.
“We’re looking forward to getting some answers because at the moment we’re in limbo. We just can’t get our heads around it.”
Antonio and Victoria married in Blackpool on September 7 last year, and celebrated in a sun-kissed ceremony in Spain.
The couple had just returned from a romantic night away in Manchester to celebrate Victoria’s birthday when Antonio started feeling unwell.
Hotel manager Victoria said: “He was so kind and funny. He was a lovely man. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. I’m still in shock.
“I just want to find out why this happened so I can start to deal with it.”
Antonio, who lived on West Drive in Cleveleys, gave up a career in sales to open Mi Casa Su Casa in 2014 with the help of his experienced father, Pablo.
The restaurant enjoys a sterling reputation, with nearly 400 satisfied customers ranking it as ‘excellent’ with travel company Tripadvisor, making it the website’s number one pick for Bispham.
Victoria said the restaurant would continue to do business in Antonio’s honour.
The 27-year-old added: “The staff only closed for one day. They just want to do him proud.
“He worked so hard to make it so nice. It’s his legacy. It was always busy and he had a lot of regular customers.
“The staff who work for him have worked there for years and some of them worked for his father.
“His family lived in Bispham all their lives so they were a big part of the community.
“All we can do now is take each day as it comes.”
Antonio leaves behind his father Pablo, mother Margaret, twin sister Suzanne and brother Paul.
A date for his funeral has yet to be announced.