His coffin draped in the colours of his beloved Sunderland AFC, “gentle giant” Jamie Crighton was laid to rest following his sad death aged just 25.
Popular dad-of-one Jamie, from Southwick, collapsed and died while waiting for his food to be served at a city centre takeaway just a number of weeks ago.
Well over 100 people, many dressed in the red and white of the Black Cats, turned out to say an emotional goodbye to 6ft 9in Jamie at his funeral at Sunderland Crematorium.
Floral tributes including “Dad, “Uncle” and “Brother” adorned the hearse.
After Jamie’s coffin was brought in accompanied by Basshunter’s All I Ever Wanted, humanist Graeme Flaxen told mourners: “He was known as the Hulk or Gentle Giant.
“Today we are faced with a painful situation and one we could never have imagined.
“We can’t pretend we are not shocked by the loss of Jamie. He was in the prime of his life.
“Today’s ceremony however has to be a joyful one.
“He would want us to remember fond memories of him.”
Mr Flaxen also said that Jamie, a former Monkwearmouth Academy pupil who enjoyed socialising and following Sunderland home and away, “idolised” his young daughter Ellie.
Heartwarming tributes were paid by Jamie’s sister Hayley about the bond he had with his nephew, her young son Leo.
“You and Leo were so happy from the day he was born and it left me speechless,” said Hayley.
“I love you so much.”
Jamie’s dad Arthur, who has remained friends with his mum Tania, despite separating in 1999, said: “The main thing about Jamie was that he was always laughing and smiling.
“He loved life and loved to smile.
“There was not a bad bone in his body.
“I’ll see you on the other side.”
Arthur then sang Eagles songs Peaceful Easy Feeling, Tequila Sunrise and Take It Easy, which was followed by huge applause from those present at the service.
The Crighton family also thanked friends and staff at various Sunderland pubs who have fund-raised for the family following Jamie’s sad death.