Derek Draper, a former political adviser and husband of TV presenter Kate Garraway, has died after several years of serious health complications due to coronavirus.
The 56-year-old was said to be one of the UK’s longest-suffering COVID patients, spending 13 months in hospital after contracting the virus in March 2020.
He was left with extensive damage to his organs and needed daily care.
Image: Kate Garraway, with her husband Derek Draper and her parents Gordon and Marilyn Garraway, after being made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2023 Garraway posted a statement on Instagram this morning saying her “darling husband” had died and she had been “by his side holding his hand throughout his last long hours”.
She confirmed he suffered a heart attack in early December, adding that “the damage inflicted by COVID… led to further complications”.
“I have so much more to say, and of course I will do so in due course, but for now I just want to thank all the medical teams who fought so hard to save him and to make his final moments as comfortable and dignified as possible,” she said in her Instagram post.
“Sending so much love and thanks to all of you who have so generously given our family so much support. Rest gently and peacefully now Derek, my love, I was so lucky to have you in my life.”
Garraway’s Good Morning Britain co-stars and other well-known faces shared their condolences under the Instagram post.
“Our whole hearts are with you all,” Susannah Reid said, while Charlotte Hawkins commented: “So desperately sorry Kate, it’s absolutely heart-breaking. So much love to you all.”
Presenter and comedian Alan Carr posted: “Oh Kate that’s so awful. Sending you so much love and the deepest condolences.”
Fellow ITV star Lorraine Kelly said: “So sorry Kate. You fought so hard. Just incredibly sad. Sending you love.”
Peter Andre, Carol Vorderman and Kaye Adams also posted messages of support.
Garraway and Draper married in 2005, and have two children together. They celebrated their 18th anniversary in September, with the presenter saying on Instagram that she was “so glad” he survived to see it.
Just a few days later, she published her book, The Strength Of Love: Embracing An Uncertain Future With Resilience And Optimism, chronicling the upending of life as she knew it when her husband fell ill.
“It’s a constant cycle of loving and losing, gratitude at surviving and grief for what’s been lost,” she said. “This book tells the story of how I am learning to find love and strength to help my family thrive and I hope what I have learned helps you to get through your own challenges.”
Garraway also made two documentaries about Draper’s health battle and his care, with both programmes winning National Television Awards in the authored documentary category.
In 2022, she shared a post on Instagram as the second show, Caring For Derek, received its nomination.
“The reason we made the documentary was to highlight carers, professional carers, and carers who are doing it for love and the tough challenges that that involves,” she said.
“As much as you don’t begrudge doing it, it’s very hard. You saw me frustrated, depressed, emotional, and I’ve been all of those and more in recent weeks and months.
“That’s the thing about caring; you want it to carry on because you want the person surviving and with you. But there isn’t an end point, and it doesn’t get any easier.”
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