Coober Pedy community rocked by Elizabeth, Goran Ilich deaths

Mum dies of a ‘broken heart’ after finding her son, 34, dead in his home – as a small mining town reels from three sudden deaths in a week

  • Mother dies three days after her son passed away of a ‘broken heart’
  • Goran Ilich died on November 12, with his cause of death still unknown
  • Tributes flowed in the outback town of Coober Pedy after the deaths 

The outback town of Coober Pedy is grappling with a triple tragedy after a mother died just three days after her son passed away before the death of a local firefighter was also reported.

Goran Ilich, 34, died on November 12, with his body tragically being found by his mother Elizabeth.

Mr Ilich was a beloved member of the remote South Australian town, 850km north of Adelaide, with most of the 2,000 people living in the tightknit community bonding over it being the ‘opal capital of the world’.

The local paper, the Coober Pedy Regional Times, quickly paid tribute to Mr Ilich, saying he was a popular man among locals. 

‘Goran Ilich was popular among all age groups,’ the paper read.

‘He had a natural charm and was well-mannered and polite.’

Goran Ilich (pictured), 34, was found dead by his mother Elizabeth Ilich on the morning of November 12, according to Coober Pedy Regional Times

Goran Ilich (pictured), 34, was found dead by his mother Elizabeth Ilich on the morning of November 12, according to Coober Pedy Regional Times

His cause of death is yet to be released.

Three days after his death, Goran’s mother passed away in what locals labelled a ‘double tragedy’.

‘In the early hours of Monday morning, a grief-stricken Elizabeth Ilich awoke with chest pains and called friends for assistance,’ the paper reported.

‘An ambulance was called but Ms Ilich passed away in hospital some hours later.

‘Friends have related that Ms Ilich had a heart condition and believe that the grief from her son’s death caused a heart attack.’

Three days after he died Goran's mother Elizabeth Ilich (pictured) passed away in what locals are calling a 'double tragedy'

Three days after he died Goran’s mother Elizabeth Ilich (pictured) passed away in what locals are calling a ‘double tragedy’

A GoFundMe was set up following the loss of Goran which referred to him as ‘a beautiful soul taken away too soon’.

‘Everyone that interacted with Goran knew he was different, he could talk to anyone and charm them with his charisma and personality,’ the fundraiser read.

‘Goran has left an impact on all of us in so many different ways and so many other cities.’

Locals and friends of Goran alike posted tributes online and on the fundraiser. 

‘Our most sincere condolences. May God give you all strength,’ wrote one.

‘Condolences to the family. Goran will be forever missed and the world will always be less bright without him,’ said another.

His friend Luka Belosevic took to Facebook to show his respects to his mate writing, ‘RIP my brother Goran Ilich. I’ll miss you so much.’

But the Coober Pedy community was ‘shattered’ again when a local firefighter died on Friday.  

Jayden Watts was described by the paper as a beloved part of the opal town.

‘We pay our respects as we mourn the loss of Jayden, a much loved and respected community member, family man, partner, father, son, brother, friend, businessman, volunteer, and much more,’ the paper wrote. 

The Coober Pedy community was 'further shattered' by the death of local firefighter Jayden Watts. Jayden's death was the third in the town in a space of a week

The Coober Pedy community was ‘further shattered’ by the death of local firefighter Jayden Watts. Jayden’s death was the third in the town in a space of a week

One local paid their respects to the three Coober Pedy residents online, with all three passing away in the space of a week.

‘What a horrible week for the community. We have lost 3 beautiful members of our town,’ they wrote.

‘Firstly Goren Ilich, then just days later his mum, my friend, Elizabeth and then in just a few more days Jayden Watts.

‘This year has seen us say that final Goodbye to far too many of our friends and neighbours and I for one am looking forward to the end of the year.

‘I extend my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Elizabeth and Goren Ilich and to the family and friends of Jayden Watts. My thoughts and prayers are for you all.’

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