Just hours after leaving his son's death bed, a stoic Steve Miller has paid an emotional tribute to a "beautiful, brave young man with his whole life yet to be lived."
Cole Miller, 18, died of massive brain injuries in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital on Monday, just more than 24 hours after an allegedly random coward punch in an inner Brisbane nightclub precinct.
Cole a 'beautiful, brave young man'
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Cole a 'beautiful, brave young man'
The father of Cole Miller says the 18-year-old "struggled bravely" before succumbing to "massive brain trauma" from an alleged coward punch in Fortitude Valley
The promising young water polo player was walking through Fortitude Valley's Chinatown Mall with a friend about 3.55am Sunday when he was allegedly felled by a single, unprovoked punch to the head.
He was rushed to hospital in a critical condition but did not regain consciousness.
He died, his father Steve said, surrounded by family and friends, on Monday morning.
"It is with deep sadness I announce our 18-year-old son Cole has today passed away as a result of massive brain trauma," Mr Miller said.
"He has struggled bravely in the intensive care unit of Royal Brisbane Hospital and our family and many close friends have been by his bedside since the incident.
"Cole was a beautiful, brave young man with his whole life yet to be lived."
Mr Miller's voice cracked at times, as he read a pre-prepared statement in the wake of his son's death, but continued, as he offered his family's thanks for the overwhelming outpouring of support that followed news of Cole's injuries.
Supported by Cole's uncle Michael and aunt Alison, Mr Miller offered thanks to all those who had rallied behind the family.
"The Miller family would like to thank the support by Cole's school friends at Brisbane State High School and the water polo community and many, many, many others who have sent messages of love and hope," he said.
As Cole's family bid him their final goodbyes on Monday morning, two 21-year-old men faced Brisbane Magistrates Court, charged with causing him grievous bodily harm.
Those charges were upgraded to unlawful striking causing death on Monday afternoon.
Armstrong Renata and Daniel Jermaine Lee Maxwell were both remanded in custody and are expected to reappear Tuesday morning.
The charge was introduced by the former Newman government to specifically target one-punch deaths, after a string of similar tragedies in entertainment precincts across Australia.
The charge mirrors manslaughter but removes the "accident" defence.and carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Just two people have been charged with the offence since its introduction.
Mr Miller, the younger brother of Australian water polo player Billy Miller, was out with a friend during a break in training, before a national competition in Adelaide this week.
The competition has been cancelled following the attack, as has another tournament in Victoria.
Detectives initially believed as many as four men could be behind Cole's death but after reviewing evidence in the 24 hours since the attack, including CCTV footage and witness accounts of the incident, Acting Inspector Armitt said investigators now believed they had the two sole perpetrators of the attack.
He described the teenager's death as "absolutely tragic".
"There are no other words to describe it, his (Mr Miller's) son was a young, innocent man," he said.
The teenager's death was the most tragic of reminders of the consequences a single punch could cause, Acting Inspector Armitt said.
"People have to be reminded they are responsible for thier actions," he said.
"We have a stark reminder here today, there is no better advertisement than right now as to the consequences."
Cole, who lived in Highgate Hill, graduated from Brisbane State High School and is a member of the Brisbane Barracudas Water Polo Club team.
Tributes have flowed on social media for the young life cut short.
Armstrong Renata and Daniel Maxwell have both been remanded to reappear in Brisbane Magistrates Court to face charges over Cole Miller's death on Tuesday.