News ‘Beacon of hope’: Pandemic hero Captain Tom Moore dies after contracting COVID
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‘Beacon of hope’: Pandemic hero Captain Tom Moore dies after contracting COVID

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A British World War II veteran hailed a hero after winning hearts for his efforts raising money for healthcare workers during the pandemic, has died after contracting the coronavirus.

Captain Sir Thomas Moore was 100 years old.

Family announced his death early Wednesday morning (Australian time), just two days after his daughter revealed he had been suffering from pneumonia since testing positive to COVID-19 on January 22.

“The last year of our father’s life was nothing short of remarkable. He was rejuvenated and experienced things he’d only ever dreamed of,” the family said in a statement to PA Media.

“Whilst he’d been in so many hearts for just a short time, he was an incredible father and grandfather, and he will stay alive in our hearts forever.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sir Tom had been “not just a national inspiration but a beacon of hope for the world”.

The British veteran caught the public’s attention during the country’s first virus lockdown in April when he decided to walk 100 laps of his garden, on his walker, as part of a fundraiser for the National Health Service.

The grandfather raised more than £32 million ($A58 million) for healthcare workers on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19.

The Queen subsequently knighted him for his efforts, and Sir Tom’s heart-warming story providing much-needed cheer for people worldwide during COVID-19 lockdowns.

He also broke two Guinness world records and went on to score a No.1 single with his version of You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Sir Tom Moore was knighted by the Queen of England in July 2020. Photo: Getty

Earlier this week his daughter Hannah said her family had hoped Sir Tom, who had been receiving “remarkable” medical care at Bedford Hospital, would be able to “return home as soon as possible”.

Then on Wednesday morning, his two daughters announced “with great sadness” the death of their beloved father.

In the past five years, Sir Tom had received treatment for prostate and skin cancer, his family said.

“I’m so sorry to hear that Captain Tom has passed away in hospital,” British Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Twitter.

“He was a great British hero that showed the best of our country.”

For three weeks in April, fans were greeted with daily videos of Sir Tom, stooped with age, doggedly pushing his walker in the garden.

But it was his sunny attitude during a dark moment that inspired people to look beyond illness and loss.

“Please always remember, tomorrow will be a good day,” Sir Tom said in an interview during his walk, uttering the words that became his trademark.

-with AAP