THIS is the photo — and moment — Manuel Pappos will cherish forever.
It captures the sheer joy and emotion as he embraces his son, Alexander, when the siren sounded and they celebrated their beloved Richmond’s win in this year’s AFL Grand Final.
Alex turned to his father, and in between singing the famous team song, he said: “Dad, this is the best day of my life.”
Minutes later, the fit owner of popular Slate Restaurant and Bar in Melbourne’s CBD was in an ambulance and rushed to hospital.
His family kept a bedside vigil but said goodbye six days later when they learnt he was never coming back. He was 41.
“Nobody could believe what happened,” his best mate, Tyson Young, said.
“So passionate about everything he did that he refused to leave the game until his Tigers won the flag.”
Not wanting to miss out on a second of the game he had waited his whole life for, Alex dismissed what he thought was a mild asthma attack.
Nobody knew that with every mark made and goal kicked by the Tigers, his breathing struggles deepened.
As he and his dad watched Matthew “Richo” Richardson hand over the cup to the 2017 premiers, he collapsed.
It took paramedics 17 minutes to revive him. But it was too late. His brain had been starved of oxygen for too long.
It was devastating news for everyone, especially his fiancee, Kammi Brown, whom he planned to wed in Greece next year. They had hoped to start a family soon after.
“It truly is a heartbreaking and almost unbelievable story,” Mr Young said.
“Everyone that knew Alex knew him on a personal level. That was Alex — he was rare, charismatic and full of love.”
Alex’s generosity showed on the day of the Bourke St massacre in March when he rushed to the aid of those injured.
He also ran water and other supplies back and forth to emergency service workers.
More than 800 people — including Richmond Football Club legend Dale Weightman — gathered to remember him at his funeral.
Alex’s grief-stricken family has had some relief knowing that his organs have helped four people, including a young woman who was given his heart.