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Broken heart Love Island hunk Matthew MacNabb heartbroken after close friend's death

"For those of you who were lucky to have met Ryan, you know how much of a special person he was. He was always the happiest person in the room"

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Ryan (L) with Matt (R)

Ryan (L) with Matt (R)

Ryan (L) with Matt (R)

Love Island Irish hunk Matthew ­MacNabb is dealing with heartache after ­losing a close friend just days before his ­appearance on the reality show.

The 26-year-old adventurer and entrepreneur from Downpatrick is mourning the loss of pal Ryan Freeman who died suddenly on July 11.

In a heartbreaking Instagram post, Matthew shared the impact his pal had on his life and vowed to remember him by 'loving life to the fullest'.

The Co Down man, who vowed to be honest when he entered Love Island, poured out his emotions in the tribute to his friend.

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Matthew MacNabb. Photo: ITV

Matthew MacNabb. Photo: ITV

Matthew MacNabb. Photo: ITV

"For those of you who were lucky to have met Ryan, you know how much of a special person he was. He was always the happiest person in the room. It's hard to believe that when you consider the horrible things that have happened to him in this life. How could he be so kind, so happy, so full of life?" he wrote.

The pair met when Matthew moved to California two years ago and they became close. In a social media message earlier this year Ryan described his friend as a 'Celtic god' for his ripped physique.

The 27-year-old died in a diving accident, according to family members, in a tragedy underlined by the obstacles he'd overcome in his life.

Ryan had a hard upbringing in the small town of Bush, Louisiana, where he found his mother shot dead in the family home, survived a house fire, and his father committed suicide, leaving Ryan and his siblings to be raised by aunts.

He joined the Marine Corps and trained to be a helicopter mechanic but later experienced PTSD and developed an alcohol addiction, which led to a three-year prison sentence for punching a policeman.

In a recent Facebook post he shared the story of how he'd turned his life around, using a law in California which allows former inmates to expunge their criminal record to get employment.

"No more rehab, suicidal thoughts, sadness, feelings of worthlessness, impossible expectations of myself, dwelling on my past mistakes, and being unsatisfied with me as a human being," Ryan wrote.

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"I am no longer on parole, I am no longer a ­felon, I no longer have a record, and my last name finally fits me.

"My final box is checked. I fixed my life. I am a Free Man. I am Free. I can move on. I did it."

Tragically just months later Ryan lost his life. In his heartfelt Instagram tribute just weeks ago, Matthew shared his feelings about his pal and his sadness at his sudden loss.

"It was only when we went out on a hike one day last year that I really understood him. I remember observing Ryan from a distance and seeing the love and kindness he had for each person.

"It was at that point I realised he had such strong compassion and love for people because he had suffered so much, and he never wanted anybody to feel his pain."

He added: "I love you. You will forever be my family, my brother, and the angel to my side. I will remember you for the light you brought to me and to this world. This is not a goodbye, it's a see you later."

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