The UK’s longest-known coronavirus patient has died after choosing to withdraw from treatment, his wife has said.
Jason Kelk, 49, had spent more than a year in intensive care at St James’ Hospital in Leeds after contracting coronavirus in March 2020.
He was transferred to a hospice yesterday morning and died surrounded by his family.
His wife Sue Kelk wrote on Facebook on Friday: “It is with a very heavy heart that I have to share the sad news that Jason passed away peacefully at St Gemma’s at 12.40pm.”
She told Sky News that her husband was brave because “he didn’t want to live like this anymore”, adding: “He was my soulmate. We were opposite sides of the same coin – different but joined together.”
On Thursday, Mrs Kelk had written that her “darling husband” was facing “yet another setback” in his fight against coronavirus after contracting an infection.
Following his death, the 63-year-old told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “It was definitely important for him to do it on his terms.
“But he is leaving an awful lot of people absolutely bereft.”
Last month, Mrs Kelk told Sky News that she feared he had “given up” after his condition worsened and he started suffering “fainting attacks”.
She had earlier been making plans for his return home by launching a crowdfunding appeal to help convert their property.
Mrs Kelk had said she was worried her husband no longer “believes in himself” in his fight for recovery.
Although he had spent several weeks off a ventilator in recent months, he needed to use one again after his condition worsened and he still required kidney dialysis.
Doctors believed the primary school IT worker would always need a tracheostomy tube to remove fluid that would build up in his throat and windpipe.
Before his condition worsened, Mrs Kelk said her husband had started drinking cups of tea and eating soup and was using Facebook Messenger “virtually every single day”.
But she said when she last spoke to her husband he was “talking absolute gobbledygook”.
Mr Kelk was admitted to hospital on 31 March last year – around the same time as Derek Draper, the husband of TV presenter Kate Garraway.
Mr Draper was also left seriously ill after contracting COVID but has since returned home after a year in hospital.