Tributes to Marquis: Football superfan baffled doctors in battle with ‘disappearing bones' condition

Inspirational Arsenal fan's final words were: 'Wake me up when the football's on"

Friday, 9th July 2021 — By Steve Barnett

Marquis Coker-with mum Amanda

A MOTHER has paid tribute to her “precious angel” son, praising the “courage and resilience” he displayed in defying the doctors.

Arsenal super-fan Marquis Coker, who lived in West Hampstead with his mum Amanda Burrell and twin brother Tyreese, was “always battling something”.

He was born with a condition known as “disappearing bones”, had scoliosis – curvature of the spine – and suffered through keloids, scar tissue that grows excessively.

The 19-year-old also had multiple heart operations over the years.

But you would never hear Marquis complaining, said Ms Burrell.

He was too busy living and loving his life, especially football.

Marquis with his mother Amanda Burrell

“His willingness to live outsmarted even the smartest doctors, and left them scratching their heads,” she said. “They were baffled by his resilience.”

Marquis died on Monday, June 28, with Ms Burrell saying he needed his “well-earned rest”.

But she said her son’s spirit “will live on” as she thought about the joy and laughter that Marquis brought to the lives of all the people he met.

“We all knew it was coming, but just didn’t know when, because he sure made sure that he fought on for his mummy and his twin brother,” she added.

“He was wise beyond his years. And he sure made his mark here on Earth in his short time being here. He will always be my guardian angel. He made us all put our lives into perspective, and he always knew how to put a smile on people’s faces.”

In the summer of 2019 Marquis fulfilled a lifelong dream when he took charge of grassroots team Just Play FC for their opening game of the season in the Camden and Regent’s Park Football Youth League.

He gave an inspirational team talk before kick-off, in which he told the Under-13s side to “be strong, pass the ball and attack”.

It worked wonders as Just Play stormed to a resounding 8-1 victory.

Just Play founder Taff Rahman said he and his coaches will “always carry Marquis with them”.

He added: “Marquis impacted all of us hugely. He was a powerful, energetic person with a genuine appreciation for life.

“He certainly took life by the horns and really lived it. He was something else, someone special. He will be sorely missed. Everyone at the club would like to send our condolences to his family.”

Sharing an insight to his final days, Ms Burrell said Marquis continued to make those around him smile until the very end.

“At one point a doctor was trying to wake him up, rubbing his forehead, and saying, ‘Are you with us, Marquis? Can you hear me, mate?’ And then Marquis suddenly woke up and joked, ‘What you doing? I was just sleeping, minding my own business, and the next thing I know, you’re in my face rubbing my shoulder and holding my hand. That’s weird, man. I’m traumatised!’

“We all burst out laughing. The doctor didn’t know what to say, and just laughed, too.”

In between asking the nurses to make him strawberry smoothies, Marquis still found the energy to cheer England on in the European Championships.

Perhaps somewhat fittingly, his final words were: “Wake me up when the football’s on.”

Marquis’s funeral takes place at 1pm on Friday, July 23, at St Mary with All Souls church in Abbey Road, Kilburn.

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