TRIBUTES have poured in for a footie lad once dubbed the world’s most allergic boy after he died aged 20.
Tragic Paul Braithwaite was just a baby when doctors first diagnosed him with a rare and debilitating form of eosinophilic gastroenteropathy.
At the time he was the only Brit known to suffer with the condition and the first recorded case since 1906.
The exhausting condition saw him vomit and get rashes after contact with sunlight, grass, fabric, dust and animals.
He was also allergic to dozens of food types.
But Paul’s courage won him a legion of fans, including former England boss Fabio Capello as well as snooker stars John Parrott and Jimmy White.
He also touched This Morning presenter, Eamonn Holmes, who paid for his back garden to be covered in Astro-turf so he could play footie.
Last night, Paul’s heartbroken mum, Kelly, 46, spoke of her immense pride after he lost his latest battle with cancer.
She told The Sun: “He had every allergy there was, his skin was red raw and he suffered on an almost daily basis.
“His growth was stunted because of the medication he was on. At the age of 20 he was still wearing clothes for 10 to 11-year-olds.
“He had a set of very complex needs and had battles at every turn. He’d been in air ambulances, resus and intensive care but nothing phased him at all.
“He faced all of it with the greatest attitude and joked about everything. Whatever was thrown at him he just got on with it.”
In 2008, after reading of his plight in The Sun, then England boss Capello sent him a personal note with a signed Three Lions shirt urging him to “stay strong”.
He wrote: “You are a very brave boy. Your family must be very proud.”
But Kelly, of Grimsby, Lincs., said: “Over the last couple of years his health has just deteriorated.
“He just wanted to live a normal life – he wanted to own a dog, he wanted to learn to drive and he wanted to walk round the block.
“All the things most people take for granted. He wanted to eat other foods but couldn’t. In the end he just hid himself away and I hated that.
“He was ashamed of how he looked and how little he was. But the courage and the guts that kid had was second to none. He kept me going more than he ever realised.
“He was just so brave. He didn’t ask to be born like this – and I did all I could for him.”
His dad Darren, 52, said: “He loved Manchester United and we went to a match together as part of the Make a Wish charity. He was in his own little world.
“He was very lonely but he was happy that way. Life is just too short. All he ever wanted was to be normal.”
Paul’s funeral will be held on July 18.
The family have now set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to fulfill his final wishes.