A much-loved care worker who "always thought about others" has died at the age of just 32 after he suffered a serious stroke as he slept.
The family of Stephen Mason, who cared for people living with autism and serious brain damage in Leyland, Lancashire, have described the 32-year-old as a loving man who was the "life and soul of the party".
Stephen, known affectionately by his friends as Mason, was asleep when he suffered a major stroke, waking up non-verbal and unable to move his arms or legs
He was rushed into hospital to undergo an emergency procedure but died on July 17, after spending 48 hours on life support.
Stephen's sister, Laura Mason, 29, told LancsLive: "It's just so sad, he was a great lad who always helped the community, including the homeless, adults with autism and then his last job was working with stroke and brain injuries.
"When there were people who couldn't live alone and needed help, he helped them and rehabilitated them.
"He was a very much a loved lad who always put others before himself, he did the Preston North End Big Sleep Out where he had to sleep rough at Deepdale to raise money for the homeless shelter.
"He used to buy pies and drinks from the bakery and give them out to the homeless. Stephen always gave money to the Big Issue sellers but never took the Big Issue magazine so they could have some money for themselves, the list of good things my brother did is endless.
"He always thought about others."
Stephen Lee Mason was born in Lancaster, on July 9, 1988, to parents Stephen Mason senior and Julie Mason.
One of five, Lee grew up with his two older brothers, Anthony and Andrew, and his two younger sister, Jessica and Laura.
Though separated from his wife Katie, who was also the mother of his two-year-old son Nathaniel, Stephen remained on good terms with his former partner and continued to enjoy a special relationship with his son.
He also went on to discover love again with his new girlfriend, Rachel Norris.
"He loved his job and he's well known as a kind caring person who always puts other before his own needs," said Laura.
"He was a fantastic dad, who always provided, without fail, for his son Nathaniel and they loved spending time together.
"He was constantly on Skype, talking to him during lockdown."
On July 15, Stephen suffered a massive stroke in his sleep, he awoke unable to move his arms or legs and was non verbal.
An ambulance was called to his home in Lostock Hall, before the 32-year-old was rushed to Royal Preston Hospital.
Laura said: "The paramedics told us he had suffered a stroke.
"You can usually see the big symptoms of a large stroke but he didn't have any and it was too late for my brother.
"He had a large stroke and then, on top of that, a bleed on the brain.
"He was taken to the acute stroke unit, where he ended up having a big bleed on his brain.
"He went into emergency surgery where they took part his skull off to let the brain swell but it did absolutely no good, the pressure in his head was just getting bigger."
On July 17, after two days on a life support machine, Stephen died peacefully.
Following his tragic death, Stephen's friends have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the Stroke Association UK. Click here to donate.