Exeter man's death leaves family in shock

Ricky Hill, who renamed himself Loki Helensson, passed away at home
-Credit: (Image: Helen Hill)

An Exeter family have been left shocked by the sudden death of a 'funny, caring and kind' 25-year-old man who was passionate about music, animals, gaming and Vikings. Ricky Hill, who renamed himself Loki Helensson after researching his family's Viking ancestry, peacefully passed away last Monday, June 3, at home where he lived with his mum Helen.

Loki was born with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome - a group of conditions that cause very flexible joints and stretchy and fragile skin. Having hyper-mobility impacted his life in many ways including not being able to walk, sit or stand for very long or lift anything heavy.

There's no cure for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and some types can affect the heart. A post-mortem examination has been unable to confirm the cause of his death so further testing is due to be carried out by a specialist pathologist who will examine his heart.

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Helen said: "His death was very sudden and has been a complete shock. Everyone is reeling at the moment. Loki was unique, funny, amusing and very, very caring. If anybody needed help he would be the first one to support them.

Loki Helensson with his brothers and mum Helen
Loki Helensson with his brothers and mum Helen -Credit:Helen Hill

"He changed his first name, but not by deed poll, to Loki [regarded by the ancient Norse people as the god of mischief, trickery, and deception] and his surname to Helensson which meant 'Helen's son'.

"On gaming sites, he was known as The Enigmatic Sloth which he gave himself because the problems he had with his limbs made him slow. We will be putting a big sloth toy on top of his coffin, his favourite hat and maybe a small posey rather than flowers.

"His other nickname was The Trickster as the god Loki was the trickster and it was also a play on words of his birth name Ricky."

Loki's arrival into the world made front page news in the Express and Echo because when he was born, his mum was given just three minutes to live after suffering massive blood loss. It was only thanks to the doctors and nurses at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital that she survived.

Helen went on to raise Loki and his two older brothers as a single mum. He never moved out and the pair always shared a close bond.

Helen, now 65, said: "There are 13 years between Loki and my second youngest son but they were always very close, and he was a bit of a surprise as I didn't think I could have any more children. He was the most wonderful surprise.

"Growing up he was funny and cheeky, and because he had older brothers he had a grown-up way of talking which was quite amusing to people."

Loki Helensson when he was a pupil at West Exe School
Helen and Ricky's front page story in the Express and Echo

Loki attended Redhills Primary School, West Exe and Exeter College. At the latter, he studied music and could play the drums and bass guitar and had recently taken up wind musical instrument ocarina.

Helen said: "He was very musically minded. He loved every type of music. After college, he worked for a call centre with Sitel but he really struggled dealing with angry customers. It shot his confidence to pieces and he couldn't work because he had Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and anxiety issues.

"Loki was a proper home bird but he had a couple of very, very good friends who would get him out such as for walks. He loved online gaming. That was his social life.

"He also loved animals. He had a boa constrictor and after our dog died, who was 16 and we had her for 13 years, I spotted a dog on the Blue Cross rehoming site. He bought her for me for comfort and she is now my comfort over him."

Loki Helensson with the dog he bought for his mum
Loki Helensson when he was a pupil at West Exe School -Credit:Helen Hill

Loki was found passed away lying on the settee after Helen returned home from work.

She recalled: "It was just like he was asleep so we think his heart just stopped. As awful as a shock it was, I don't think he would have known anything about it. It's like he just fell asleep and didn't wake up."

No date has yet been confirmed for his funeral, but Helen says it will be a 'unique' pagan funeral because he was not religious and believed in Norse paganism.

His family are fundraising for his funeral to give him a fitting send-off that will celebrate his life, passions and beliefs. The online GoFundMe page has already raised nearly £5,000.

Loki Helensson with his boa constrictor Alice
Loki Helensson with the dog he bought for his mum -Credit:Helen Hill

Helen said: "I can only work part-time due to my health, I am on minimum wage and I'm not on benefits. I hate asking for money and I never have before, but this is so important to us.

"We have now raised enough money to cover a basic funeral but we would really like him to have a memorial close to his gran who died in 2017. We would also like him to have a wake. Any money that we can raise will be fantastic."

The family has advised that all Loki's friends are welcome to attend his funeral and there will be no dress code. To donate to the fundraiser, please click here.