BY JAMIE BULLEN – Daily Mirror
Five children have been orphaned after their dad died from bowel cancer – just weeks after their mum’s death from the same illness.
Omena Ubiaro, 38, had battled Stage 4 bowel cancer for three years before he passed away at a hospice in Wolverhampton in the early hours of today.
His death comes the day before his wife’s funeral after she died from bowel cancer on July 29.
Friends close to the family say they are too devastated to speak but tributes have emerged online.
One person, who posted a tribute on Facebook, described Omena’s death as a “tragedy of tragedies.”
Last month, Mirror Online reported the family’s heartbreaking plight as Omena fought for his life while grieving for his wife Makeda.
Omena had been battling Stage 4 bowel cancer for two years when Makeda was tragically diagnosed with the same disease last August.
Makeda, who was also 38, underwent emergency surgery but could not be saved by doctors and died on July 29.
Friends launched a fundraising page after her death to support the family’s five sons, aged from seven to 19, with fears growing over Omena’s deteriorating health.
More than £20,000 has been raised through donations and the appeal remains open.
In a heart-rending video, uploaded as part of the appeal, Omena said the death of his wife and ongoing fight against cancer was the “toughest thing” he has ever dealt with.
The emotional footage was filmed from his hospice in Wolverhampton, where Omena received round-the-clock care in the final weeks of his life.
Appearing gaunt and captured hooked up to machines from his bed, Omena said: “I just want to say thank you so much to everybody that has been supporting myself and my family.
“Recently, myself and my five boys we’ve just lost my wife, they’ve lost a mother and I’ve also lost a best friend as well.
“It’s been difficult for the boys, it’s been difficult for myself.
“I cannot lie it has been the most toughest thing that a husband and a father’s ever had to face or deal with but it’s only been easier with support and help from friends.”
Omena’s best friend Femi Iloyi, 40, told Mirror Online how Omena was “determined” to be there for his children before he lost his battle.
He said his friend’s weight plummeted to just 8st and revealed he was unable to fully grieve his wife’s death as he focused on staying alive for his family.
Femi told Mirror Online: “Omena is a big, muscly guy but right now he is about 8st. He is so determined to stay alive for his children.
“Omena is such a humble guy, since he was diagnosed he just pulled his socks up and carried on.
Omena and Makeda met when they were teenagers at St Francis Xavier College in Clapham, South London.
They married in 2004 and moved to Birmingham in 2009.
In 2014, the couple decided to renew their wedding vows when Omena was diagnosed with Stage 4 colorectal cancer.
Omena openly discussed his battle with bowel cancer through a series of YouTube videos in which he said he believed his faith would help him overcome the disease.
In one video, uploaded in August 2015, he told how he underwent experimental treatment in Mexico as he likened traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy to be like a ‘boxer with one arm’.
But while Omena charted his fight against cancer, friends said Makeda kept her battle private.
Close friend Eudora Benn-Short, who described Makeda as a “sister”, paid tribute to the “warm and caring” mum.
She said: “Makeda was an angel in her own right. She was warm, caring, honest and would be there for everybody.”
“I used to tell her there was no-one else like her.
“She gave so much to everyone. What hurts the most is that she has left behind five boys.”
Makeda was admitted to hospital for colostomy surgery but her cancer spread and she died on July 29.
Her funeral is due to take place tomorrow.
To support the family visit www.gofundme.com/support-omena-ubiaro-and-family