THE heartbroken family of Kenny Meyler have told of their "insurmountable grief" as they prepare to fly his body home from Australia.
The 21-year-old Wexford man lost his fight for life in a Perth Hospital on Saturday – almost one week after being brutally stabbed with a carving knife.
A number of his loved ones, including his mother Melanie Meyler and father Dermot Moloney, maintained a bedside vigil during the week.
However, Kenny never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead just after 4pm on Saturday afternoon.
His devastated family have revealed how Kenny's grandmother Phyllis told him over the phone that he was her "number-one grandson" just hours before he slipped away.
In an emotional tribute, the Wexford-based family described Kenny as a young man "with a lust for adventure".
"Shortly before Kenny passed away, the telephone was held to his ear when his grandmother Phyllis said her final goodbye – 'You're my number-one grandson and always will be'," a statement on behalf of the Moloney family read.
"We knew from last week there was not much hope. But still, when the word came through of Kenny's death it was devastating, the life-support machine having been switched off for a short time earlier.
"Apparently Kenny was not expecting this assault, it came right out of nothing.
"Kenny was a young man full of life with a lust for adventure. All of the time he had a caring personality and always kept in touch with his family. Kenny did not deserve what came to him. We are all suffering as are the parents of the perpetrator."
The statement mentioned the number of young people emigrating from Ireland, adding that it is "even more disturbing to see some of them return home in coffins".
"This time when Kenny returns he'll be home for good but that's not what we would have looked forward to."
Kenny's grandfather, Sean Meyler, said that the family had been praying "for a miracle" all week long.
"It's just broken all our hearts and the hardest part is Melanie and Kenny are so far away when all we want to do is hug her," he said.
Meanwhile, Australian police said that the 32-year-old Irishman charged in connection with Kenny's death may see the charges upgraded in the coming days.
Vincent Crowe, who is believed to be from Dublin, was initially charged with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He is due to appear in court again next week. Post-mortem results will now determine whether the accused will see his charges upgraded, police said.
Kenny, who is from Wexford town, emigrated to Australia in 2011 to start a new life.
But while socialising in the Scarborough area on Sunday last, the young man was involved in an altercation with up to three others.
Police believe he was punched, kicked and then stabbed in the neck with a 30cm carving knife.