A Queensland woman expecting triplets is mourning the loss of her husband, a beloved cricket coach who died last week.

Matt Conwell, 32, died in Brisbane on September 2 in what police say was a suicide. His wife of 12 years, Ashleigh Conwell, 29, is expecting the couple’s three babies later this year.

Mrs Conwell’s sister Emily Fallon told the Courier Mail her brother-in-law was struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and made a “snap decision”.

“It was a snap decision, a moment of clouded judgement, and totally out of character,” Ms Fallon told the publication. “This year’s been tough for everyone, even the strongest people you thought could get through it, and while there were some struggles and stresses there, it just shows suicide doesn’t discriminate.

“The outpouring of support is a testament to the kind of person Matt was – very non-judgemental, very genuine and caring, an unassuming, quiet person who had time for everyone.”

A GoFundMe page set up to support the expectant mother during this unimaginable time has already garnered more than $130,000 as of Monday night.

“The pregnancy, delivery and care of triplets is challenging for any couple. This has now been made so much more difficult for Ashleigh with the loss of her beloved soulmate, who was so looking forward to meeting his babies,” Mrs Conwell’s best friend Alex Nesevski wrote on the page.

“Not only has Ashleigh’s world been torn apart emotionally, the financial hardship she now finds herself in is significant. Both Matt and Ashleigh had been impacted by COVID-19 in their job roles; they were already stretching every dollar and budgeting tightly for the arrival of their unexpected but so very wanted ‘instant’ family.

“Losing Matt has placed an almost overwhelming burden on Ashleigh.”

Mr Conwell, known affectionately as ‘Cozzy’, worked with professional and premier grade sporting clubs, including his work as a strength and conditioning coach for the Brisbane Roar Football Club.

But it appears cricket was where his loyalties were with an outpouring of grief and support from various cricket clubs on social media.

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Brisbane-based community club Wolston Park Centenary Cricket said Mr Conwell was “a driving force for Queensland Cricket” in many development programs.

“Matt always presented a smiling face and he will be sadly missed by everyone who had the privilege of knowing him,” WPC Cricket Club President Peter Davies wrote on the club’s Facebook page.

The Redlands Tigers Club, whom Mr Conwell worked with, held a pre game gathering and minutes silence at the weekend for their “great friend and teammate”.

South Brisbane Cricket Club Brisbane Super King also said Mr Conwell “was a huge part of BSK Juniors over the recent years and will deeply missed”.

A mental health emergency has erupted in the months since Australia launched its unprecedented response to coronavirus, with anxiety and depression rates skyrocketing.

The consequences of that, coupled with the long-term psychological distressed caused by unemployment and its myriad side-effects, will see suicide rates jump sharply.

“The predicted increase of suicides is 25 per cent each year for the next five years,” Professor Ian Hickie, co-director of the Brain and Mind Centre at The University of Sydney, said.

“That’s 750 extra deaths by suicide a year. It’s an enormous number. It will be a massively bigger death toll than COVID.”

If you wish to donate to Mrs Conwell you can access the GoFundMe page here.


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