SINGAPORE - He would have turned 70 yesterday.
To celebrate the milestone, Mr Ho Peng Wah's family and friends planned to treat him to a sumptuous dinner. But the security guard never got to enjoy the special occasion.
He died in a tragic accident on Thursday.
As Mr Ho was riding his motorcycle on the Central Expressway (CTE) near Jalan Bukit Merah after work on Thursday, a tree branch fell.
His only son, Mr Ho Chew Ping, 40, told The New Paper: "We don't know what happened. It's not clear if the branch struck him or hit his motorcycle first."
The two photos he saw of the accident yielded little insight, he added.
But the impact was so great that it shattered his father's spine.
A police spokesman said they received a call around 4.30pm asking for help on the CTE towards the Ayer Rajah Expressway.
"A 70-year-old man was subsequently sent to Singapore General Hospital (SGH)," the spokesman said.
The man later died of his injuries.
Citing ongoing police investigations, an NParks spokesman said it was unable to comment.
Mr Ho's family hopes witnesses will be able to shed light on what happened.
A passing private ambulance had stopped to help the stricken man, and took him to hospital. But Mr Ho's injuries were severe.
His son said: "My father's head was covered with wounds. His spine was fractured.
"Doctors said that even if he managed to survive, he would be paralysed."