A GP in Essex is the first doctor to have died from a confirmed case of coronavirus.
Dr Habib Zaidi, who was 76, had "textbook" symptoms, his family said, and was taken into intensive care in Southend Hospital on Tuesday. He passed away 24 hours later.
"For that to be the thing that took him is too much to bear."
His family said Dr Zaidi, a GP in Leigh-on-Sea for more than 45 years, had sacrificed his life for his profession.
He had not been treating patients and was self-isolating for about a week before he died. He had not been tested for COVID-19, but his daughter, who is also a GP, said he had been suffering "textbook symptoms" of the virus.
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Dr Habib Zaidi was a managing partner of Eastwood Group Practice along with his wife, Dr Talat Zaidi.
Dr Sarah Zaidi told the BBC: "For that to be the thing that took him is too much to bear.
"It is reflective of his sacrifice. He had a vocational attitude to service."
She had no doubt that COVID-19 was the cause of her father's death. "He was treated as a definitive case," she said. "There is little clinical doubt it is coronavirus, the test result is academic."
He won an excellence award two years ago from the NHS Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which described him as a "legend" who was "highly revered by staff and patients alike".
Tributes to the "kind and lovely" doctor have flooded in on social media. One wrote on Twitter: "Dr Habib Zaidi was my GP. A lovely man always willing to listen. My heart goes out to his family. RIP Sir."
Another wrote: "Dr Zaidi made the ultimate sacrifice whilst caring for his patients."
Dr Zaidi’s widow has gone into quarantine away from the rest of the family. Dr Sarah Zaidi said: "We can’t mourn in the normal way. We can’t have a normal funeral."
— Julie Crumpton. 🦓 🌼 #Rejoinernow (@kaleidobrain) March 27, 2020
Dr Habib Zaidi selflessly served society as a GP for 45 yrs
Dr Zaidi made the ultimate sacrifice whilst caring for his patients & is the first doctor in the UK to die of #COVID19
Our thoughts & prayers to his family & loved ones
— The Wounded Healer (@ahmedhankir) March 27, 2020
Last night the nation gathered to clap for the NHS in emotional scenes.
In other coronavirus news, people have been criticised for still not adhering to the social distancing rules of walking six feet apart.
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