A father 'took his own life' just days after his seven-year-old son died with an undiagnosed brain tumour that was initially mistaken for a case of coronavirus, the boy's mother has revealed.
Corey Bartlett had seemed like any other fit and healthy child until he fell ill with a high temperature, collapsed on the bathroom floor and died as he was being flown by air ambulance to hospital on June 24.
A post-mortem revealed there was a mass pressing on his brain but more tests are needed to explain his death.
His 43-year-old mother Abby Bartlett, of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, was then contacted by police three days later and hear that her ex - Corey's father Michael Bartlett, 46 - had been found dead.
She is now desperately trying to rebuild her life for the sake of her son Ryan, 11, who had found his younger brother collapsed on the bathroom floor after falling ill.
Corey's mother said the post-mortem showed the seven-year-old, who did not suffer headaches or any other symptoms, had an undiagnosed brain tumour.
He had fallen ill with a temperature and sore throat four days before his death, and medical staff thought Corey may have had coronavirus but he tested negative, Ms Bartlett said.
Abby Bartlett, 43, is pictured with her son Corey. A post-mortem revealed there was a mass pressing on his brain but more tests are needed to explain his death
M Bartlett was dealt another blow when the police rang to say her ex - Corey's father Michael Bartlett, 46 - had been found dead on June 27
Ms Bartlett told the Stoke Sentinel: 'It was a ticking time bomb. It was totally unexpected.
'It was such a shock to find out as Corey was such a healthy fit young boy. He was a really active child. He had his appendix out but that's the only time he'd been ill.
'The only difference recently was that his behaviour had become more challenging. I'd taken him to the paediatrician as he'd been lashing out but they said he was fine. They just shrugged it off. One minute he would be OK but then the next he would lash out and swear.
'When you asked him what was wrong he would say ''I don't know, mummy''. He was definitely stressed about it.'
Ms Bartlett added that she wanted to 'get to the bottom' of what happened, and it is not yet known whether the tumour was malignant or benign.
Samples will need to be taken, meaning it could take another five to six weeks before the child can be buried.
'I have a lot of unanswered questions,' said Ms Bartlett, who had recently moved from her native Wiltshire to Stoke-on-Trent.
Her sons were due to join her in the next few weeks when the double tragedy struck.
Ms Bartlett has now launched a GoFundMe page to raise money to give Corey the send-off he deserves. More than £800 has been pledged so far.
Corey (pictured with his father) had fallen ill with a temperature and sore throat four days before his death, and medical staff thought he may have had coronavirus but he tested negative, Ms Bartlett said
Paying tribute to Corey, Ms Bartlett added: 'He was like any other normal seven-year-old who would tear around the place on his scooter. He loved motorbikes'
Ms Bartlett said: 'It was a ticking time bomb. It was totally unexpected. It was such a shock to find out as Corey was such a healthy fit young boy. He was a really active child'
On the page, she writes: 'My son Corey sadly passed away the 24th June 2020. He was only 7 years old and my baby boy.
'Things are still so very raw, but I would like Corey to have an amazing send off to be with his daddy
'Any help would be incredibly valuable as I would love to have flowers also in shape of a motorbike that was a big favourite of his.'
Ms Bartlett said that Corey used to tear around the place on his scooter and had fallen in love with motorbikes.
The grieving mother added that Corey's father dying three days later was a 'huge shock' - and Mr Bartlett had emailed saying he wanted to be with Corey.
Corey's older brother Ryan is now 'in pieces' and does not know how to process what has happened, his mother said.
Ms Bartlett said she has to keep going for his sake.
She added that she would not wish this fate on her worst enemy, revealing that her mother, who had MS, also passed away in September after she choked on Turkish Delight while on holiday in Turkey.
Ms Bartlett says she now wants a joint funeral for Corey and his father, who both loved each other.
She wants to raise enough money for a motorcycle drive-by tribute because her son loved them so much but never had the chance to ride one - with any leftover money going to the air ambulance.