When devoted dad Brad Coleman, who "hated selfies", reluctantly posed for a photo with his family at the start of their weekend away, they had no idea it'd be their last photo together.
The Coleman's family holiday at Hyams Beach on the NSW South Coast earlier this month started like many getaways, with a trip to the beach so kids Raiden, 12 and Aleyna, 11 could enjoy a dip in the ocean.
But moments later the dad of two was dead, unable to be saved.
The life-changing holiday took a tragic turn that day on March 4 when Mr Coleman, from Hurlstone Park in Sydney's inner west, heard his kids' cry for help as they were swept up in a strong rip.
Mr Coleman "didn’t hesitate" and ran into the water to save their lives but got into difficulty himself.
After bringing his kids to safety, it's believed the heroic dad suffered a heart attack. All while his wife Hulya watched on from the balcony of their rented accommodation, the Daily Telegraph reported.
By the time she reached the ocean, she watched as the body of her "soulmate" and "best friend" drifted towards her face down in the water.
Mrs Coleman also suffered a heart attack on the beach from the shock.
She and her kids were airlifted to Prince of Wales hospital in Sydney where they spent the night, 2GB reported. The kids still covered in think, red seaweed which had entangled them.
"There was nothing I could do to save him. I’ve lost my best friend. I never thought I’d ever be a widow," the grieving widow told the Daily Telegraph.
"My beloved became our eternal hero, and my heart literally broke on that beach, but it could have been so much worse."
Family hit with further tragedy
Mrs Coleman was back in hospital last week for further treatment of her heart.
Hours after leaving the hospital, her father passed away in a palliative care facility. She "didn't even get to say goodbye," Jen Couttas, a friend of the family said.
Speaking on 2GB radio, Ms Couttas said the family have "a lot of trauma to get over" noting the incident brought on "a very sudden change" for the family.
"He did everything right in his life," she said of Mr Coleman who was just an "ordinary man," but to his family "he was extraordinary"
The devoted dad was "absolutely beloved by Hulya" who still "can't believe she's a widow."
Support for the Coleman family
Mr Coleman's brother Scott described him as his "best friend" and "the best man I knew" in a tribute shared on Facebook following the funeral last week.
"Today we farewelled my brother Brad Coleman, aged 40. He lost his life tragically in a drowning incident at Hyam’s Beach on the 4 March 2022," he wrote on Thursday,
People were heartbroken by the news with many offering words of support to Mrs Coleman and her kids.
"Such a tragedy. Just heartbreaking. Much love and strength to this family," one person wrote on the GoFundMe page.
"Such a heartbreaking time. Sending so much love to all of you," said another.
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