AN EX-SOLDIER who was fighting for his life in a Caribbean hospital has lost his final battle.
Frank Rice died on Wednesday night after he caught pneumonia during a holiday in the Dominican Republic with his wife Dawn Townsend.
Mr Rice, who worked as a social worker in the city, suffered from pulmonary fibrosis and was waiting for a lung transplant.
The couple had travelled to the island to celebrate his 49th birthday.
He was taken into hospital on Saturday, October 8, a few days before they were due to return home to Alverthorpe.
Mr Rice leaves behind his son and daughter, Jordan and Ashleigh, and was also step daughters Jessica, 16, and Rebecca Charlesworth, 19, of Stanley.
They have vowed to go ahead with a planned fundraising three-legged walk through the city centre to Newmillerdam on Sunday.
More than 700 people joined a Facebook group called Bring Frank Back Home after learning of his situation.
His family and friends were trying to raise money to pay for an air ambulance to fly Mr Rice, who was originally from Scotland, back to the UK.
In the two weeks he had been in hospital, the medical bill had reached £40,000.
Sponsored events had been planned and local companies had contributed towards the fundraising effort.
Jessica and Rebecca will set off from Wakefield Bus Station at 11am to complete their walk.
Tributes to Mr Rice flooded have been posted on a Facebook page.
John McPherson said: “Frankie we will miss you. You were very much-loved and cherished by all your family, especially up here in Scotland. RIP my friend.
“Dawn all our love and thoughts are with you, be safe and take comfort from the support from all, especially your girls and your brilliant family and friends. See you soon.”
Andy Mitchinson said: “My heart just sank, that is so sad he was a great guy, our thoughts are with you all x.”
Sarah Halkyard said: “RIP Frank you will be sadly missed.”
Carol Tagg said: “RIP Frank, a lovely man taken too early.”
Mark Townsend said: “Sad news...the big man will be sorely missed. RIP Frank Rice.”