South Croydon DJ married partner on Royal Marsden hospital bed hours before he died from prostate cancer
A WIDOW has spoken of the dramatic decision to marry her DJ lover on his hospital deathbed just a few hours before he died.
Sonja and Earl Junior McDonald, of South Croydon, took their vows in front of a bedside priest and registrar just three hours before Earl, widely known in Croydon as Junior Mac, lost his battle with prostate cancer.
The Lightning FM disc jockey, who worked at the Granaries, Bar Seven and The Roxbury, had been battling the killer disease for about two years and had been in hospital for a week before tying the knot.
Mrs McDonald, 46, said: "He was over the moon and so was I. He smiled and lit up afterwards, and then just said, 'hi Mrs', and I giggled. His smile lit up the ward.
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"I loved Junior and he wanted to get married, and that was his last dying wish, and I gave it to him."
Mrs McDonald revealed how Earl, 49, called her from his deathbed at the Royal Marsden, Sutton, saying he wanted to marry her on the morning of the day of his death.
She then took the couple's passports to the register office where the marriage was officially recorded before the priest arrived at Earl's bedside at 4.30pm. By 7.30pm he had died.
The couple had met through the Granaries nightclub, where Mrs McDonald is a manager.
She added: "It was surreal because half of me didn't believe he would go so soon. We wanted to experience being married because we had lived together for over a year, but we only got a few hours.
"I remember the happiness on his face when the vows were said and then the pain when we knew I wasn't going to see him much longer.
"I'm going to miss him so much. I tried to save him."
Mrs McDonald, along with his family – who attended the funeral with nearly 1,000 mourners last week at Croydon Minster, in Church Street, – hope Junior's story will raise awareness of prostate cancer, the third-biggest killer of men in Britain.
Croydon University Hospital had failed to diagnose the disease in 2010 before he began urinating blood.
And it was not until being seen by experts at East Surrey Hospital and the Royal Marsden that the cancer was diagnosed in January last year.
His father Vincent, mother Ruby, brothers Tony and Barry and sisters Beverley and Kharon, all paid tribute to a DJ much loved by his family, friends and fans.
In a joint tribute, they said: "Earl Junior McDonald will be sorely missed.
"Junior Mac, as he'd become known in and outside of the music industry, lived and breathed music. He had a mass following of fans at the community radio station Lightning FM, where he was a resident DJ and presenter and was well respected.
"We, his immediate family, recognised how unique Junior was as a brother and an individual. He was very loving, intelligent, charismatic and wise beyond his years.
"He was one in a million.
"Fortunately the resemblance, personality and mannerism of his children and grandchildren will guarantee to remind us of Junior for always and forever.
"Everyone is really going to miss him. He had an influence on so many people's lives."
Mrs McDonald has urged readers to make donations to the Royal Marsden after paying tribute to its professionalism.