A YOUNG woman who suffered from a rare illness which caused her body to attack itself has died.

Brave Emma Matheson, aged 22, had struggled with the condition sarcoidosis from the age of six months.

Yesterday, her mum spoke of her pride and said that despite the condition, Emma always had a smile on her face.

Susan Jones, of Duxbury Street, Halliwell, said: “We were always very proud of Emma because even though she was very ill, she always wanted to try and do things independently.

“On every picture you see of her she was smiling, no matter what happened it would never get her down.

“She was the most generous person you could know — she would give you her last penny.”

Sarcoidosis affected Emma’s skin, joints and eyes.

Emma died suddenly at the Royal Manchester Infirmary on Saturday, November 9.

She had been in hospital for three weeks with stomach pains and doctors were going to operate.

But her organs started to fail and her family made the heartbreaking decision to switch off her life-support machine.

Ms Jones, aged 43, said: “It came as a shock because she has always come through things that have been much worse.”

The coroner has been informed.