A British hiker has died on ‘the adventure of a lifetime’ while climbing Everest.
Father-of-two Kellinu Portelli, 54, was trekking around the Himalayas for a cancer charity when he was found dead at the base camp.
The superfit runner, who worked as an engineer, was being monitored for low oxygen levels – but later died in his sleep.
Kellinu, known as Kell, had earlier messaged friends and family on Whatsapp to tell them he was feeling better.
Father-of-two Kellinu Portelli, 54, (pictured) was trekking around the Himalayas for a cancer charity when he was found dead at the base camp
The superfit runner suffered from extreme altitude sickness during the trek and was being monitored for low oxygen levels – but later died in his sleep
Kellinu pictured, left, after arriving at Lukla airport in eastern Nepal
His wife Donna, 51, said: ‘I said to him just be careful and he said: ‘I will be careful I promise’.
‘That night there was a festival on and Kell was dancing and singing with locals and then he went to bed.
‘In the morning the guide said he went to get him but he died in his sleep.
‘We are waiting for a post mortem but we are 99 per cent certain it is the low oxygen.’
Kell, from Leckwith, Cardiff, was flown by helicopter to hospital in Kathmandu but was dead on arrival.
Donna and Kell had been married for 30 years and said their children Lucia, 26, Sam, 20, were heartbroken by their father’s death.
She said: ‘Kell was a real family man and he adored his grandson Luca.
Father-of-two Kellinu Portelli, 54, was trekking around the Himalayas for a cancer charity when he died
Kell, from Leckwith, Cardiff, was flown by helicopter to hospital in Kathmandu but was dead on arrival
‘He had been facetiming us from Nepal and would be crying down the phone. He was such an emotional man and he’d cry because he missed us.
‘But he was having a great time over there, he told his daughter it was life-changing experience.’
‘When he was 40 he was quite overweight so took up running and exercise became a massive part of him.
‘He had completed seven marathons, loads of 10ks and other events and would always do Parkrun.
‘He wanted to do Everest as he wanted to do something special and he wanted to raise money for Marie Curie as my mum died of lung cancer and we lost a close friend to cancer last year.
Friend David McDonald said: ‘Kell was a family man who was born and raised in Cardiff who really loved his family’
‘Over the years he’s done lots of fundraising events and must have raised more than £20,000 for charities.’
Kell flew from Heathrow 11 days ago and landed at Lukla Airport, Nepal, on his way to Everest Base Camp for the three-week trip.
Friend David McDonald said: ‘Kell was a family man who was born and raised in Cardiff who really loved his family.
‘He was a member of the running club and was looking forward to the trek and he had been preparing for months and months.
‘It was such a shock not only because he was so well loved but he was Tweeting away, Whatsapping people and updating Facebook until Monday night until he had low oxygen levels.
His wife Donna said: ‘When he was 40 he was quite overweight so took up running and exercise became a massive part of him’
‘They brought him down and he felt a lot better and he was Whatsapping until early evening then he didn’t wake up from his sleep.
‘The only thing that we can take any comfort in is that he was doing something that he always wanted to do and he was loving every moment of it.’
Engineer Kell was a member of the Les Croupiers running club and regularly took part in grueling challenges and his local Parkrun event.
Before he left, Kell wrote online: ‘One more sleeps and I’m off on what I hope will be an adventure of a lifetime raising funds for an amazing charity. Thank you all for your generous donations and support.’
An online fundraising page set up before he left has now raised £4,700 for the Marie Curie charity.