The wife of a consultant spinal surgeon at the Royal Victoria Hospital who passed away in his sleep at the weekend, wrote that she will remember him as a "phenomenal" husband and father in a moving letter to her late partner.
Kyle Martin McDonald (38) died suddenly on Sunday and is survived by his wife Poppy and two children Darcey (6) and Rory (4).
His parents Martin and Anne McDonald from Newry, sisters Paula and Cathy, and the wider family circle were also "heartbroken" after his passing.
Mr McDonald died suddenly at his home in Holywood, Co Down, and was described as a "dedicated and successful" consultant spinal surgeon in the Belfast Trust.
In a heartbreaking letter she wrote in memory of her husband, Mrs McDonald said the messages of praise from his patients and colleagues were of no surprise to her but she will always remember him foremost as a husband and father.
"I know you loved us more than anything in the world," wrote Mrs McDonald, who said she couldn't believe she was writing such a letter.
"You were never happier than when you were doing crafts or gardening with Darcey or playing marbles and the toot toots with Rory.
"We together have instilled in them a kind, ambitious, funny, life loving attitude and I don't know how, but I will make sure to continue that on my own.
"You are everywhere in our home and although difficult now I know we will be grateful. Your love and effort into our garden will be a comfort to us as we play in it and remember you.
"They both are floored by what has happened but I promise you, I will make sure they have the happiness and life we planned for them."
Mrs McDonald continued by saying that she took their children on the day trip both she and her husband had planned before his death.
Even though it was "so painful" for her, she knew her husband would be so happy to see the children playing as normal.
Mrs McDonald added that she knows her husband will still be there to guide her forever.
She concluded: "I have no way to finish this as it will never be over for me - so see you later. Love you. Poppy."
The trauma and orthopaedic services in the Belfast Trust, and throughout Northern Ireland, passed on their condolences to the family of Mr McDonald and said they were "shocked and saddened" by the death of their much-loved colleague.
"He was an outstanding individual who in his career had already made a huge impact on the lives of all of his patients, colleagues and friends," stated a spokesperson for the Belfast Trust.
"The thoughts and prayers of the entire trauma and orthopaedics community and all who knew him are with his wife, young family, parents and extended family circle at this sad time."
Mr McDonald played for Queen's University football team in the early 2000s, making five appearances for the senior side.
He won the Amateur League division title in 2003 with the Queen's Colts fresher side and played for the Collingwood Cup team in and Poppy Cork the previous year.
Paul Leonard, his former Colts team manager, recalled: "Kyle was quick and very tough in the tackle and was very committed to the club whenever he played.
"Most of all he was a great guy and very popular with all his colleagues.
"Those of us who knew him are shocked and saddened at this news and we send our deepest sympathy and best wishes to his family and friends."
The funeral service for Mr McDonald is tomorrow in St Mary's Chapel, Newry, at 12pm, followed by a memorial at Roselawn Crematorium in Belfast.
Donations in lieu, if desired, can be made to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children's charity Helping Hand.