MELISSA Ede, the transgender rights campaigner who picked up £4million on a lottery scratchcard, has passed away.
But who was Melissa and how did the former taxi driver of Hull die?
Who was Melissa Ede?
In late December 2017, an “absolutely shocked” Melissa Ede – then a “cabbie from Hull” – phoned Camelot after realising she’d won the top prize on the £4million blue scratchcard from the National Lottery.
Struggling to get her head around the size of her win, she told Camelot she was “shaking”, and added, “you know, a thousand pounds, I’d be over the moon, but four million… is like, what?!”
Melissa, who had four children, had bought the winning £10 scratchcard after stopping off for petrol on her way to work on December 30, 2017.
The transgender rights campaigner quit her job and, for the first time in 25 years, didn’t work over New Year.
When the National Lottery gave her a cheque on January 3, 2018, Melissa told reporters that she wanted to help others experiencing gender challenges, saying: “The transgender fight to where I am now has been a very difficult path.
“I received my [gender reassignment] operation almost seven years ago, and I am really proud of who I am today.”
Melissa later vowed not to give any of the cash to her four children, who she said disowned her after she began transitioning from a man twelve years ago.
The former cabbie was not afraid of the limelight, having a popular YouTube channel and an appearance on the Jeremy Kyle show when her daughter found out she was not her biological child.
She had been planning to write an autobiography about her journey to becoming a woman after she underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2011.
Just last month Melissa, 58, appeared in The Sun Online, joking she was the Hull version of Katie Price after spending £50,000 on lip fillers and new teeth.
She forked out thousands to change her appearance with a series of cosmetic surgeries since her mammoth win.
Melissa joked: “I’m just looking younger by the day. I’m Hull’s very own Katie Price.”
In mid-April, Melissa told Hull Live she intended getting more work done as her surgeon had done “an amazing job”.
She added: “I am going for a consultation next week about a facelift and nose job. I don’t think there is a budget for beauty.”
When was Melissa’s funeral?
Melissa was put to rest on May 30.
Her body was carried in a rainbow horse-drawn procession that went past a McDonald’s she “loved”.
Her coffin travelled through Hull in a horse-drawn carriage kitted out in the colours of the LGBT rainbow flag.
Mourners told to dress “as colourful as possible – Preferably LGBT style” are arriving in bright dresses, hats and suits as the day “celebrates her extraordinary life”.
The funeral was at Hull’s Chanterlands Crematorium, which had a private ceremony.
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How and when did Melissa die?
Melissa previously spoke about experiencing “classic signs” of a heart attack, which left her struggling to breathe.
She told Hull Live she woke up at about 5am on May 6 with “crushing chest pain” and was “hardly able to breathe”.
These symptoms lasted for about an hour before Melissa returned to bed.
When she experienced worsening pain and breathing problems later that day, she went to the Hull Royal Infirmary, where her heart was monitored, and she underwent blood tests.
The hospital told Melissa that she wasn’t having a heart attack, and that her lungs and heart were fine, but her symptoms could be attributed to anxiety, stress, or doing too much.
Two days later, she responded to “trolls” who cruelly posted death wishes.
Melissa filmed a Facebook Live video, in which she said: “People saying it is a shame I’m not dead. Well, I’ve got a message to you people; there’s nothing actually wrong with this ticker or my lungs.
“All been checked out so you’ve got me a while yet, so I’m sure that will make you all happy.
“Surely you have got more to think about in life than wishing death on other people?”
Her fiancee, Rachel Nason, had confirmed she died suddenly on the evening of Saturday, May 11.
It was confirmed she died of a heart attack.