A star of Masterchef: The Professionals has died after collapsing during the LondonMarathon just four miles from the finish, it was revealed today.
Matt Campbell, 29, a professional chef from Kendal in the Lake District, fell ill at the 22.5 mile mark – around Tower Hill – and later died in hospital.
He died during the hottest London Marathon ever where temperatures reached almost 25C and saw dozens of runners collapse with heat exhaustion.
Tragically he posted a photo of himself with fellow chef Tom Peters in Greenwich Park just ten minutes before the race started with the message: ‘Let’s do this!’.
Matt, who reached semi-finals of MasterChef: The Professionals, was running in memory of his father Martin, who died suddenly in 2016, and hoped for a time of around three hours – but tragically he is the 12th person to die in marathon history.
He said on the eve of the London Marathon: ‘Although he won’t be there in person, I know he will be there in spirit and I will be running for him’.
Today Masterchef fans flooded his Just Giving page and donated have sent his £2,000 total to £14,000 by 1pm today.
Just two weeks ago the ultra-fit chef completed the Manchester Marathon in three hours and had also completed a marathon in Provence, France, recently.
In a post on the morning of the race, Mr Campbell told his Instagram followers he was raising money in memory of his father and wished other marathon runners good luck.
He wrote: ‘2nd marathon in 2 weeks, first @manchestermarathon & now, @londonmarathon. I’m running in memory of my Father for @brathaychallenges, thank you so much for this opportunity.
‘Still a little off my fundraising target, if anyone could spare £1 the link is in my bio. Good luck everyone!’
Tragically he never made it to the finish.
Announcing his death a London Marathon spokesman said: ‘With deep sadness, we confirm the death of a participant in the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon.
‘Matt Campbell collapsed at the 22.5 mile mark and, although he received immediate medical treatment on the scene from race doctors, he died later in hospital.
‘He was running for The Brathay Trust and in memory of his father, Martin, who died in the summer of 2016.
‘Matt’s family today paid tribute to their inspirational son and brother, who was a keen marathon runner and had earlier this month completed the Manchester Marathon in under 3 hours’.
The death of Matthew Campbell means 12 people have died running the marathon since 1981.
Seven of those deaths were caused by a cardiac arrest, the remaining ones were caused by a brain haemorrage, heat stroke or catestrophically low salt levels in the blood.
Experts say the chances of death in a marathon is around one in 100,000, much lower than stillbirth, for example.
In 2016 Army captain David Seath died aged 31 after suffering a fatal cardiac arrest. In 2014 Robert Berry died from heat stroke aged 42 and two years before that Claire Squires died aged 30 from a heart attack.
In 2007 David Rogers died from hyponatremia – a complication caused by low sodium in the blood.
Mr Campbell was running the marathon in memory of his father, Martin, to raise money Brathay Trust, a Cumbria-based charity which helps vulnerable children.
Speaking before the marathon, Mr Campbell told the North West Evening Mail: ‘[My father] died in 2017 and that year I ran my second Windermere Marathon in three hours and three minutes.
‘It was a very special moment raising over £1,000 for my father’s Brathay memorial fund supporting Brathay’s work with children and young people.’
He first entered a marathon in 2016 and previously trained for a similar event while eating an exclusively vegan diet. He was hoping to complete this year’s London marathon in under three hours.
Matt’s justgiving page told how his dad had encouraged him to start running marathons.
He said: ‘He was the most inspirational man in my life and was the one who said – ‘Go on, why don’t you give it a go? I know you can do it!’ and entered me into my first marathon; Brathay 2016 along with my brother, Josh.
‘It was maybe the proudest day of my life standing at the finish line having achieved something I never imagined possible with my Dad and my Brother by my side.’
He also was awarded the inaugral Martin Campbell award for being the fastest local to run the Windermere Marathon.
MasterChef paid tribute to their former contestant a spokesman said: ‘We are shocked and saddened to hear the news about Matt Campbell, one of our talented contestants from last year.
‘It was a privilege to have him on the show. He will always be remembered for producing for some of the most innovative and groundbreaking food that we saw on the series.
‘From the whole MasterChef team, our sincere condolences and thoughts are with his family and friends’.