THE man whose death in Ballymena in the early hours of Saturday led to a murder investigation being launched has been named locally as Jason Martin.
The father-of-two, believed to have been in his early 30s, died in tragic circumstances in Ballykeel early this morning.
He was a popular member of the Ballykeel community and was particularly well known in local football circles.
Friends paid tributes to Mr Martin after news of his death broke this morning.
A police spokesperson said: “ A murder investigation has been launched following the death of a man at a house in Orkney Drive early this morning, Saturday 27 June.
“One man has been arrested and he remains in custody at present. There are no further details.”
On Saturday morning there were unconfirmed reports Mr Martin had been stabbed.
It is understood the deceased was a fan of Liverpool FC and in recent days had watched on with pride as the side won the Premier League for the first time in 30 years.
Riverdale Football Club sent sent heartfelt condolences to the Martin family.
They wrote on social media: ‘Jason Martin was a truly wonderful lad who was a key member of the only Riverdale side to gain promotion and play in Division One.
“A sad and tragic loss, which will have hit and hurt a lot of the population in Ballymena this morning.’
Messages posted to Jason’s Facebook page described him as a gentleman with a ‘bubbly personality’.
Local independent councillor, Rodney Quigley posted: ‘Waking up this morning to the sad news of another young Ballykeel man’s life taken too soon. I’d like to express my deepest sympathy to the Martin family circle at this heartbreaking time.My thoughts and prayers are with you all.’
Ballykeel Loyal Sons of Ulster Band said Jason was a former member and added: ‘Jason was a popular figure within the Ballykeel estate, had family still current members of the band and also friends within the band.
‘Jason was someone many people had a lot of time for. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, his friends and his 2 little boys who have now been left without a Daddy. Ballykeel will always remember’.
Chimney Corner FC in Antrim said: ‘Chimney Corner FC would like to pass on our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Jason Martin who sadly passed away last night. Jason was a former player of the club. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this very difficult time.’