Man left paraplegic after eating slug dies aged 28

Ballard swallowed the slug on a'dare

One of Sam's friends, Jimmy Galvin, who was present at the party, described the event as a "red wine appreciation night". Bang. That's how it happened'.

Ballard was left paralyzed and had to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life, often suffering seizures.

Last week, eight years after he fell ill, Ballard passed away at the age of 28.

Sam became gravely ill in the days after swallowing the slug.

He contracted eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis, which some people recover from.

The Sunday Project host Lisa Wilkinson confirmed the tragic news.

Before the dare Mr Ballard had been a promising young rugby player at his high school, Barker College, on Sydney's upper north shore.

"We have some sad news for you now. On Friday, Sam passed away, surrounded by his family and loyal, loving mates", Wilkinson said.

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Ballard's story made headlines earlier this year after medical funding used for his care and provided by the Australian government's National Disability Insurance Scheme was reduced by half; the government eventually reversed the decision following extensive media coverage and an appeal by Ballard's family, News.com reported.

According to Daily Mail Australia, his last words to heartbroken mum Katie were: "I love you".

Throughout the many struggles with his health, Sam's friends were still by his side and frequently visited him over the years.

Mr Galvin said he apologised to Sam for not stopping him that night in 2010.

She also said she does not blame Sam's friends for the dare, and said they were just "being mates".

He said: 'When I walked in, he was very very gaunt, and there were cables everywhere - it was a big shock'.

In 2011, Katie shared a post on Facebook, maintaining hope that her "rough-and-tumble Sam" would recover.

But Katie previously admitted Sam's illness has hit the family hard, saying: 'It's devastated, changed his life forever, changed my life forever. "It's huge. The impact is huge".

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