The family of a young man who died while rock fishing on the NSW south coast have described him as a family man with a heart of gold.
John Ryman actually suffered an epileptic fit, hitting his head on rocks as his best mate and his dad tried desperately to save him.
His son, Jackson, will soon turn one without his father there to celebrate.
“He was a great son, great father, great uncle, great everything he was – he had a kind heart of gold,” his mother Jodie Ryman said.
The 25-year-old was rock fishing near Currarong on Sunday morning when he suffered an epileptic fit, hitting his head on rocks as he fell into the water.
“They’ve done all they could, and it’s a credit to them but they had no hope,” his father David Ryman said.
While police initially reported that Mr Ryman had drowned, it will be up to the coroner to determine his official cause of death.
His family believes even if he was wearing a life jacket, which is recommended for all rock fishers, it wouldn’t have saved him.
“The doctor said that he died before he even hit the water, he went headfirst into the rock,” David Ryman said.
Mr Ryman’s friends have set up a fundraising page to support his partner Emma and their children.
“No one should have to bury their child, no one,” Mrs Ryman said.