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Husband from UK’s first Down’s Syndrome marriage dies of Covid

The wife from the UK’s first couple with Down’s Syndrome has been left "hysterical" and "completely lost" after her husband died from Covid-19.

Tommy Pilling, 62, from Southend-on-Sea, Essex lost his battle with coronavirus on New Year’s Day just two weeks after catching the virus.

He had been in hospital since early December with a chest infection but is understood to have contracted the virus while there.

Sister-in-law Linda Newman, 33, said Tommy had previously shielded for 10 months and the family are in "complete and utter shock," including his wife Maryanne.

Linda said Maryanne, Tommy's wife, is "hysterical" and said it will be hard on everyone as the couple hadn't been apart for more than a few hours in 30 years.

She said: "We are all complete and utter shock. Tommy will stay in my heart forever.

"I am so thankful my mum Linda Martin, 70, unofficially adopted him 30 years ago and made him a part of our family.

"Maryanne and Tommy had never been apart for more than a few hours during all those years."

Linda added: "She doesn't remember a life before Tommy.

"The day she met him, she had the biggest smile on her face and she couldn't stop talking about him.

"She is absolutely devastated and in shock. One minute, she is hysterical and the next she is fine, then she cries again.

"It is so hard for all of us.

"Tommy has left a vast hole in our lives that nobody will ever fill."

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The family also took the time to thank wonderful NHS workers who treated Tommy with "care" and "compassion" throughout his stay.

It is understood Tommy was last at Basildon hospital with MacMillan nurses by his side who were "amazing".

Each one was "rushed off their feet" but "still made time" to inform Linda of his daily condition.

She said: "I cannot thank the staff enough, their care and compassion was outstanding – especially during these dreadful times.

"They were all rushed off their feet but still made time to inform me daily regarding his condition. They also commented on what a beautiful person he was.

"He was last at Basildon hospital with MacMillan nurses by his side – they were also amazing."

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