Tributes pour in for Aussie man who died after contracting disease from swallowing garden slug

Tributes have flooded in for a young Australian man who died on Friday after an eight-year battle with an illness contracted from swallowing a garden slug on a dare.

Sam Ballard, 29, was left with a brain injury after contracting rat lungworm disease, also known as eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis, when he ate a common garden slug during a party with friends in 2010.

For the next eight years Mr Ballard's mother, Katie, and his friends helped care for him, with the disease leaving him unable to feed himself or go to the bathroom without help.

Mr Ballard lost his battle with the disease on Friday. An obituary posted in this morning's Sydney Morning Herald stated that his "army of friends" were at his side until the end.

"He had an army of friends and family who loved and cared for him for which he was truly grateful," the obituary reads.

Sam Ballard (centre) with friends. Source: Facebook

Tributes have also poured in for him on social media.

"He was the life of the party during the North Sydney golden era," one of them reads.

"Rest In Peace, Sam, and blessings to his family, especially his mum and all the carers out there," says another.

Back in 2011, Mr Ballard's mother shared a post to Facebook outlining how his condition had changed their lives. 

"He is still the same cheeky Sam, and laughs a lot," she wrote. 

"It's devastated, changed his life forever, changed my life forever. It's huge. The impact is huge."

Mr Ballard's funeral will be held on Thursday. 

Sam Ballard.

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