HE HAD a heart of gold and would have done anything for the people he loved, say his friends.
Heartfelt tributes continue to pour in for taxi driver Albert Xhediku, who died after he was electrocuted on an outdoor artificial football pitch at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth.
He was one of those guys with a golden heart. He had a lot of time for people, he meant to do nothing but good.Istanbul Grill worker Max Sarigul
City Wide Taxis has already revealed the popular Albanian went to retrieve a football over a fence when he touched part of a floodlight and suffered a huge electric shock. He was declared dead on Sunday evening at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
Devastated friends believe he effectively saved the life of a 13-year-old boy who usually goes to retrieve the ball whenever they play.
The youngster didn’t go on this occasion as Mr Xhediku felt it was his responsibility as he had kicked it over.
Max Sarigul, who works at Istanbul Grill in Fratton Road, Fratton, said the accident happened during a weekly game of football between Albanian taxi drivers and workers from the kebab shop.
Mr Sarigul, who had been friends with Mr Xhediku for eight years, said: ‘A 13-year-old boy usually goes to get the ball through a hole in the corner.
‘But what happened is, Mr Xhediku kicked the ball over, and because he was such a nice guy, he didn’t want the kid to get it, he wanted to get it himself, and then this happened.
‘So you can imagine what kind of impact that had. So there are a few who believe he saved that boy’s life. It was just heartbreaking for everyone. It was devastating.
‘He was a big character in the shop, he brought customers in for us. He knew me, my dad, everyone.’
He added: ‘He was one of those guys with a golden heart. He had a lot of time for people, he meant to do nothing but good.
‘He would have done anything for anybody and did not want to make anyone upset.’
Mr Sarigul said he had been invited to play on the night of the incident but didn’t go along. ‘I was on a day off, which I found quite surreal. I could have been there as well,’ he said.
Mountbatten operator Parkwood Community Leisure, which manages the facility on behalf of owner Portsmouth City Council, is leading an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr Xhediku’s death.
Representatives from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents are working with Parkwood to ensure similar incidents do not happen again.
Mr Xhediku‘s body is due to be flown back to Albania.