Heartbroken family of disabled man 'desperately seeking answers'

Heartbroken family of disabled man, 18, whose life was transformed by DIY SOS are ‘desperately seeking answers’ after they turned up to hospital to visit him in lockdown to be told he had died

  • Ollie Hudson, 18, died after being admitted to hospital with a gastric illness
  • His heartbroken father Darren Hudson said he does not know the cause of death
  • Ollie appeared in the BBC’s DIY SOS renovation show in April 2019

The family of an 18-year-old disabled lad whose life was transformed by DIY SOS say they are ‘desperately seeking answers’ to his lonely and mysterious death after being admitted to hospital with gastric illness during lockdown.

Devastated father Darren Hudson says his son Ollie was spending a night in hospital for observation following a bout of stomach problems.

When he turned up to visit him he was told his son had been found unresponsive by a nurse and had died.

In April 2019, a moving episode of the renovation show told the story of widower Darren and Ollie, born with Hydrocephalus, known as water on the brain.

Devastated dad Darren Hudson says he is desperately seeking answers after his son Ollie, 18, died alone mysteriously during lockdown after spending a night in hospital for observation following a bout of stomach problems

When Darren turned up to visit Ollie he was told his son had been found unresponsive by a nurse and had died

The episode was due to be repeated on April 18 this year as part of the attempt to fill programming schedules during covid restrictions on filming.

But just before the scheduled transmission presenter Nick Knowles and his team were given the heart-breaking news that Ollie had died two days earlier on April 16.

There has been an outpouring of public grief since the repeat finally aired on Thursday with a tribute to Ollie.

Darren, who lives in the village of Hessle, near Hull, East Yorkshire, said: ‘It was April 16 when I lost him and the BBC did not know’

But heartbroken dad Darren told MailOnline that the full story behind his son’s death has not yet been told.

Darren, who lives in the village of Hessle, near Hull, East Yorkshire, said: ‘It was April 16 when I lost him and the BBC did not know.

‘So I asked if the repeat could be postponed. The original film was done two years ago and aired a year later.

‘They have been struggling to put stuff on due to covid so they wanted to show it again.’ Ollie passed away in Hull Royal Infirmary – but due to a string of tragic circumstances died alone.

It was not covid related but the exact cause of death has still not been revealed to the family.

Darren continued: ‘He was just by himself. We had four ambulances out in a month. We did not know what was wrong with him.

‘We thought he was suffering from something gastric with his stomach. He was in three times. The fourth time they said they would keep him in.’

Only his father was allowed to accompany him due to the lockdown restrictions. ‘Obviously, I could not stay with him,’ he added.

‘This is one of my fears of him becoming an adult. He could not speak for himself you see. I got a phone call the next morning saying he had had a settled night.’

Last year, a moving episode of the home renovation show told the story of widower Darren and his sons Ollie, Mike and Harvey from Hull

He was getting ready to visit when he received another call at 11am saying someone needed to speak with him.

‘I thought it was going to be something to do with his diet. I turned up and they said ‘Unfortunately, he has passed away.’

He was concerned about how the tragedy had happened. ‘We desperately need some answers,’ he said.


Hydrocephalus is a build-up of fluid in the brain, which can damage tissue.

Aside from an abnormally-sized head, other symptoms can include headache, nausea, vomiting, confusion and vision problems.

Hydrocephalus’ cause is usually unknown but may be due to issues with cavities in the brain or an underlying health problem that affects blood flow, such as heart disease.

It can also be acquired by damage to the brain due to a head injury, stroke or tumour.

Treatment is shunt surgery, which involves implanting a thin tube into the brain to drain away excess fluid to another part of the body where it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. 

If untreated, hydrocephalus can be fatal due to increased pressure compressing the brainstem, which is responsible for regulating heart rates and breathing.

A patient’s prognosis after surgery depends on their age and general health. 

Source: Brain and Spine Foundation 

The family has been told the death was due to SUDEP – the sudden, unexpected death of someone with epilepsy, who was otherwise healthy

Darren said: ‘All I got told was a nurse went back to him and he was unresponsive. I do know how long it was since that nurse had seen him.’

He is hoping more light will be shed on his son’s death by analysis of the readings from his VNS – a small electrical device, like a pacemaker, implanted under the skin of his chest.

An inquest will be held when the results of a post mortem carried out in Nottingham will also be revealed.

He said: ‘We have no answers at the moment. Every other time he has been in hospital we have never left him. We have slept with him. But this is the way it is with the covid situation

‘Leaving him was one of my biggest fears because he could not speak and no one knew him like we knew him.

‘We have been told nothing else other than the SUDEP but there is a full inquiry going on for the coroner.

‘He had not been well at all for four weeks leading up to his death.’ The funeral was held on 12 May but was limited to ten people.

‘The school where he went – Frederick Holmes Special School – have been absolutely brilliant.’

Ollie was also in the care of Platform, a charity-owned day care service for young adults with disabilities based on the school site, and they are planning a memorial.

The family concern was he had a sudden bout of ill health, were forced to leave him a lone due to covid, and had not been told much about what happened.

Darren added: ‘I challenged straightway that it was SUDEP because I was not happy.

‘I got a call back from the coroner’s court saying their expert was not happy either and wanted a full postmortem which was carried out in Nottingham.

Paying tribute to his son, he added: ‘He was the most loveable guy you could meet. He was so happy and full of life. He was always happy. He never had a smile off his face.

‘Everyone who met him was overwhelmed by him. He had so many problems but never showed it.’

No date has been set for the inquest yet.

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