The heartbroken family of Alan Cooper, who has died after a two and a half year battle with cancer, have said the world is going to be a much duller place without him.
Alan, 44, from Broughty Ferry, died in Ninewells Hospital on Wednesday surrounded by his loving partner Craig Douris, 45, and family members.
His twin brother Michael said Alan was the most loving and caring man anyone could meet.
He said: “I don’t know anyone who had a bad word to say about Alan.
“The world is going to be a much duller place without him. He loved a party.”
Craig explained that Alan, who worked at the travel agent TUI in the Ferry until recently, was diagnosed with lung cancer in December 2016.
The following February he had two-thirds of his lung removed in an operation at a hospital in Edinburgh.
“After that he picked up considerably and we had a really good year between June 2017 and June last year,” said Craig.
“Then we discovered that he was suffering from cancer again.
“It wasn’t the same cancer that had returned but a quite different one.
“Alan was told it wasn’t treatable but the doctors hoped they could prolong his life by several years.
“Then in March we were told that he probably only had a few months left to live.
“The cancer spread and then we were told only a week before he died that he didn’t have long left.
“It was very quick at the end and we are all devastated.
“Alan fought so hard but sadly he was so ill he couldn’t fight it any longer.”
Craig said: “Alan was a loving, caring person. Everyone who knew him loved him.
“He made me proud to be with him. He had very many friends and everyone spoke so highly of him.”
Alan’s mum Myra, 78, said that she had been overwhelmed by the messages of support she had received since Alan died.
She said: “He was my cheeky little devil. I was so proud of him. He was a lovely young man.”
Alan went to Barnhill Primary School, followed by Monifieth High.
He studied catering and hospitality in Edinburgh and worked in several places in Dundee, including Beaverbrooks and Goldsmiths the jewellers and the Cambustay and Woodlands hotels.
He also spent nine years living and working in Madrid, where he taught English.
Myra said: “He was adopted by the Mingo family while he was in Spain and they really took care of him.
“His friend Marta Mingo flew straight over to Dundee from Madrid when she heard the news.”
As a youngster, Alan excelled at gymnastics and was Scottish Primary Schools’ champion.
Several fundraisers are being held in his memory.
There is to be an event in the Salty Dog on Sunday at 4pm to raise money towards his funeral and a memorial the family hope to erect soon, organised by Alan’s friend Ross McGillivray.
Craig is also raising funds for Cancer Research.
He said: “It was my birthday the day after Alan died and I wanted to do something in his memory.
“I have already raised close to £1,500. People have been so generous.”
Alan’s funeral will be held at Dundee Crematorium on June 5.
Any donations received will be given to the Maggie’s Centre.
Alan battled illness which has risen in Scotland in 10 years
The most recent statistics on cancer rates in Scotland show the number of people diagnosed with the disease has increased over the past decade.
An NHS Scotland report from the Office for National Statistics published last year stated that 31,331 people were diagnosed with cancer in Scotland in 2016 – 16,084 females and 15,247 males.
The number of people diagnosed has increased over the last 10 years from 28,899 in 2007.
In its report, NHS Scotland said: “The overall risk of cancer is higher in men than women
“Over the 10 years to 2016, the age-adjusted incidence rates of cancer have increased by 1.9% for females and decreased by 6.2% for males.
“This has reduced the gap between cancer risk in men and women.
“For both sexes combined, the age-adjusted incidence rate has decreased by 2.6 %.
“In contrast, the number of women diagnosed with cancer is higher than the number of men and both have increased over time.
“An increase in the number of older people is one of the main explanations for these increasing numbers.”
The most common age at which people are diagnosed with cancer peaks between 65 and 69.
In this age bracket, men have a higher incidence rate of being diagnosed with the disease than women.
Alan’s family said any donations collected at his funeral next week will be given to the Maggie’s Centre in Dundee.
Maggie’s provides free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends, following the ideas about cancer care originally laid out by Maggie Keswick Jencks.
The Dundee centre opened in 2003 and was designed by world-famous Los Angeles architect Frank Gehry.
Based in the grounds of Ninewells Hospital, the centre offers drop-in sessions with activities including creative writing and how to manage symptoms and side-effects.