The friend of a Bendigo man who passed away suddenly this week says the outpouring of support in the days since is testament to the impact his best mate had on the lives of others.
Andrew Barry was days shy of his 36th birthday when he died unexpectedly on Monday, September 14.
Mr Barry's friends Lee Franklin and Tom Bailey have set up a crowdfunding page to help Mr Barry's young family - his beloved wife Bec and their two children, 10-year-old Taj and Zali, 7.
"They're obviously going to need a bit of financial support going forwards, especially in the current climate," Mr Franklin said.
With COVID-19 restrictions limiting the number of people able to attend Mr Barry's funeral, Mr Franklin said the fundraiser was another way people could pay their respects.
In just a few short days, the fundraiser has far exceeded its initial goal of $20,000, rising above $83,000 by Thursday afternoon.
"It just goes to show the amount of lives he touched and the generosity of everyone," Mr Franklin said of the response.
He said Mr Barry always had a smile on his face and nothing fazed him.
Mr Franklin described his friend as a caring, good-natured person, and said there would be no one with a bad word to say about him.
"The best father and husband you could ever imagine to his two kids and beautiful wife Bec," Mr Franklin said.
Mr Barry was a talented footballer, he said, who played with his home club of Berri-Culgoa and, when it merged, Sea Lake Nandaly, as well as Marong and Mount Pleasant.
"I think he won best and fairest at every club," Mr Franklin said.
Mr Barry worked as a supervisor for G.J. Gardner Homes and was well-liked and respected in the industry.
"He was awesome at his job and everyone wanted to work for him," Mr Franklin said.
To support the fundraiser for Mr Barry's family, visit the GoFundMe page.
Mr Barry's loved ones also hope to raise awareness of heart disease, and urge people to have their heart health checked out.
Medicare will cover the cost of a GP heart health check for people who are aged 45 and over, or those who are 30 years and older and an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person.
Those with a family history of heart disease should speak to their doctor.
More information on heart health and heart disease is available at the Heart Foundation website.