GONE TOO SOON: Keith Barton passed out mid-flight to Manchester and died two days later.
GONE TOO SOON: Keith Barton passed out mid-flight to Manchester and died two days later. Patrick Woods

Valiants guitar legend and granddad dies midflight

KEITH Barton boarded a plane to Manchester on August 6, but he never made it past Sri Lanka.

The 71-year-old grandfather and legendary '60s guitarist from the Brisbane-based band the Valiants passed out mid-flight and never regained consciousness.

The Etihad flight made an emergency landing in Sri Lanka where Keith was rushed to hospital, but died two days later.

He had been suffering from liver cancer and had been given roughly 12 months to live before he decided to fly home to Manchester for a final send- off to old friends and family.

He boarded the flight with son Scott and shortly after take-off the pair had fallen asleep.

When Scott woke, he nudged his dad to get past and use the toilet before the shock of the situation hit him.

Although Keith's doctor had given him the all-clear to fly, the liver toxins from the cancer had built up during the flight and eventually killed him.

Daughter Amanda Camilleri was woken up at 4am in her Caboolture home by the devastating call from her mum, Joanne.

"We sort of knew within the next 12 months it would happen, but we certainly didn't expect it to happen now. It was a huge shock," Amanda said.

"It was horrible to receive that call early in the morning from Mum. I just didn't know what to say."

Keith was a father to three and grandfather to five, including Amanda's three children.

"He was always there for us. If something happened, he'd come fix it for us. He loved making and fixing things," she said.

"He used to work two jobs so we could do swimming training every morning and night. He'd take us to training, work all day and then clean all night.

"He was an awesome grand-dad. My two youngest play soccer, so he'd always be out there kicking the ball and playing games with them."

Amanda and Joanne flew to Sri Lanka as soon as they could and they had Keith cremated before sending him home.

Unfortunately the process cost Joanne's credit card almost $20,000.

If you would like to support the family, you can donate at https://www.gofundme. com/2t6ayvu4

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