The husband of a beloved UK presenter has died holding her hand following a four-year battle with Covid.
Kate Garraway, who presents the ITV Breakfast program Good Morning Britain, announced on Friday her husband, Derek Draper, had died.
Draper, 56, was recently fighting for life in hospital after suffering a heart attack, The Sun reported.
Garraway revealed she held Draper’s hand as he passed away.
She wrote: “I’m sad to have to tell you all that my darling husband Derek has passed away.
“As some of you may know he has been critically ill following a cardiac arrest in early December which, because of the damage inflicted by Covid in March 2020, led to further complications.
“Derek was surrounded by his family in his final days and I was by his side holding his hand throughout the last long hours and when he passed.
“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.
“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.”
Tributes flooded in for Draper.
Susanna Reid, Garraway’s Good Morning Britain co-star, said: “Our whole hearts are with you all.”
Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary, of separate breakfast show This Morning, shared their support live on air.
Hammond said: “We just want to say all of us here at This Morning are sending our love to you Kate and of course [Garraway and Draper’s children] Darcey and Billy.”
Draper had suffered a series of devastating health problems after contracting Covid-19 at the start of the pandemic in 2020.
He was placed in an induced coma after contracting the virus and was placed on a ventilator.
Draper became the UK’s longest suffering Covid patient after spending 13 months in hospital.
Since being discharged in 2021, he had been readmitted to hospital on numerous occasions.
He was diagnosed with “life-threatening” sepsis and a kidney infection, which Garraway later described as “dramatic but under control”.
Most recently, he was rushed to hospital after suffering a heart attack on December 11.
Garraway cancelled much of her TV and radio work to support her husband.
The presenter reportedly spent Christmas at a hospital with their children Darcey, 17, and Billy, 14.
A source said at the time: “Everyone is praying for a miracle.
“Derek suffered a massive heart attack earlier this week which has left him fighting for his life all over again.
“It was sudden and a shock as he had been doing so well and was in great spirits, looking forward to Christmas at home with the family.
“This setback has been a huge blow for his family and all the people caring for him.
“Kate is by his side 24 hours a day and is willing him on to win this latest battle for his life.
“Derek has fought so many times, and always, against all odds, come out the other side.
“Kate has been utterly incredible — by his side while being an amazing mum to Darcey and Billy, and trying to manage their expectations of a family Christmas.”
Draper was a former political adviser from Chorley, Lancashire, in northern England, before going on to work in PR.
He was a political staffer for the UK Labour Party and at the centre of the scandal known as “Lobbygate” in 1998.
Draper was caught on tape telling an undercover reporter, posing as a businessman, that he could sell access to government ministers and create tax breaks for their clients.
In 2009, he became the founder and editor of the blog LabourList, but stepped down after another scandal involving leaked emails.
Messages sent to him proposed using the site to smear senior conservative MPs and their spouses. In his reply, Draper described the idea as “absolutely totally brilliant”.
After retraining as a psychotherapist, Draper became a published author.
His books include “Blair’s 100 Days” and “Life Support and The Psychology of Everyday Life: 50 Bite-Size Insights for Thriving in the Modern World”.
Garraway and Draper married in September 2005 after being introduced by a colleague.
He is survived by Garraway and their two children.
This story first appeared in The Sun and was reproduced with permission.