Family of Co Down father-of-nine left 'numb' after death following nine-week battle with Covid
THE family of a father-of-nine who died following a nine-week battle with Covid have told how his passing has left them "numb".
Ivor Wilcox (48), who lived in Downpatrick, died at the Ulster Hospital on Tuesday.
The grandfather-of-eight, who died months before he was due to welcome two new grandchildren, tested positive nine weeks ago.
For the first three weeks, the barman, who worked at St Patrick's Golf Club in Downpatrick, remained at home.
Six weeks ago, he was admitted to hospital.
He was twice admitted to the intensive care unit as he battled severe damage caused to his lungs.
On Monday, his family was told that it was unlikely he would survive and his wife, Elise, to whom he had been married for five years, and his older children were given the opportunity to say their goodbyes.
Speaking to The Irish News, Mr Wilcox's daughter-in-law, Micaela Johnston, said the family were told that the virus had done "that much damage to his lungs" and as a result, he "kept needing oxygen".
She said his death had left a massive hole in the family.
"He welcomed everyone with open arms. He was like everyone's dad, everyone's uncle. He was everyone's shoulder," she said.
"He thrived on being a dad, thrived on being a grandad. He adored his kids. He adored his grand kids. He thought there was nothing better than having his wee grandson for the day".
Ms Johnston said her father-in-law had intended on getting vaccinated but "just didn't get around to it".
She said the family had been left numb.
"We are all trying to talk about him and gather our thoughts, the fact that we will never see him again.
"We feel numb. He was just the life and soul of everybody's lives".
In relation to the pandemic, she said: "We all knew it was going on and we were all trying to go about our day-to-day life through the lock-down but you never think it will be you.
"Always treasure your loved ones because you never know when they will be gone. Ivor’s kids and grand kids now have to grow up without their dad and granda and it will be a huge piece missing from the family".
Steven Curran said his father was "very family-orientated".
"In life you watch superheroes on your TV screen, I had the privilege to be raised by my superhero," he said.
"He always had this thing where he said he was the original Batman. He will always be our Batman".
A GoFundMe page set up in the aftermath of Ivor's death to help his family had last night raised more than £3,300.
Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/f/ivor-wilcox-the-greatest-showman?.