Granddad killed day after arriving in Australia to visit family: 'Heartbroken'

A British man who was on the Gold Coast visiting his grandchildren has been killed outside a shopping centre just 24 hours after arriving in the country.

John Cunningham, 57, believed to be from northern England, was on holiday with his wife when he was hit by a vehicle and killed at Biggera Waters on the Gold Coast on Wednesday.

The couple were reportedly visiting their daughter Leah and her children who were staying at a nearby caravan back. They visited the Harbour Town shopping centre to get sim cards when he was tragically killed.

Tributes from family and friends have since flooded social media in honour of Mr Cunningham who just days earlier spent time in Singapore en route to Australia.

British tourist John Cunningham on holiday in Singapore with wife Annmarie.
British tourist John Cunningham, 57, had been in Australia for only 24 hours when he was killed. Source: Facebook

Early investigations suggest he may have stepped out from behind a bus on Oxley Dr and was hit by a Holden Colorado dual-cab, Queensland Police said.

"The driver, a 19-year-old Biggera Waters man stopped and rendered immediate assistance to the man ahead of the emergency response, however the pedestrian died at the scene," they said in a statement on Wednesday.

The young driver was treated for shock at the scene and taken to Gold Coast University Hospital in a stable condition, the Courier Mail reported.

Social media tributes flow for 'true gentleman'

The tragedy has rocked family and friends in the UK. His daughter Leah — who is believed to have witnessed the accident — was among many who shared their devastation online.

"My heart is completely ripped out, he was the best father I could ever wish for and my friend. He was the best grandfather to all his grandchildren and a fantastic husband to my mother. We all love you so much that I can’t even put into words, I know that you know we love you," she wrote.

British tourist John Cunningham with his grandchildren.
The doting grandfather was shown embracing his grandchildren on the Gold Coast after arriving from the UK. Source: Facebook

Accompanying photos show the doting grandfather embracing his grandkids who he'd surprised on the Gold Coast on his grandson's birthday.

The video was originally shared on social media on Tuesday and was filmed at the caravan park his daughter was staying at.

His wife Annmarie said her "heart is broken" after losing her "best friend".

"Thank our children for the way they are handling everything, me and your dad are so proud," she wrote.

One person close to the 57-year-old said they've "never seen sadder". Others described him as a "true gentleman" who'll be greatly missed.

"RIP Uncle John Cunningham, can’t believe it. Watched us all grow up, pray for his family," one woman wrote.

Witnesses speak about 'devastating' scenes

A witness spoke with the Courier Mail following the tragic incident and said the family were "crying their eyes out".

It's not known exactly who was with Mr Cunningham when he was hit, but the witness said "a woman just kept on saying ‘no, Dad no’"

Gold Coast police superintendent Craig Hanlon described the incident as "devastating" according to the Queensland publication.

"It is a tragedy and we have to be mindful that everyone uses the road, be it pedestrians, cyclists, passengers or drivers of vehicles, and we urge people to take care," he said.

It's believed the 19-year-old is helping with the investigation. No arrests have been made.

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