‘I was so lucky to have you in my life’: TV star’s husband dies after long COVID battle

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.

Garraway posted a statement on Instagram saying her “darling husband” had died and she had been “holding his hand throughout his last long hours”.

He was left with extensive damage to his organs and needed daily care.

I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! TV Show, Kate Garraway at the Versace Hotel, Series 19, Australia - 08 Dec 2019 - with husband Derek Draper. Pic: James Gourley/ITV/Shutterstock
Derek and Kate in 2019 Pic: James Gourley/ITV/Shutterstock

In early December he reportedly suffered a heart attack, with Garraway’s co-stars offering her messages of support on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

The pair were married in 2005, and have two children together. They celebrated their 18th anniversary in September, with Garraway 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.

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“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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