Kate Garraway's husband Derek Draper dies aged 56 after Covid health battle

5 January 2024, 11:41 | Updated: 5 January 2024, 13:00

Kate Garraway's husband Derek Draper has died aged 56
Kate Garraway's husband Derek Draper has died aged 56. Picture: Shutterstock

By Will Taylor

Kate Garraway's husband Derek Draper has died aged 56.

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He passed away with the Smooth Radio star holding his hand after a three year battle with the effects of contracting Covid.

Mr Draper, 56, was rushed to hospital and fighting for his life after a heart attack in December.

"I'm sad to have to tell you all that my darling husband Derek has passed away," Kate wrote on Instagram.

"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."

Read more: 'Get on with it’: Keir Starmer demands victims of Post Office Horizon scandal receive compensation now

LBC's sister station Smooth Radio said: "All of our thoughts are with Kate Garraway and her family during this difficult time."

The couple have two children, Darcey, 17, and Billy, 14.

Derek, from Chorley, Lancashire, became ill with coronavirus early in the pandemic, and his condition deteriorated so badly he was put in an induced coma.

He spent 13 months in hospital recovering - Britain's longest case of Covid - before finally being discharged in 2021.

Derek Draper spent months in hospital after suffering long-term Covid complications
Derek Draper spent months in hospital after suffering long-term Covid complications. Picture: Shutterstock

But he spent more time in hospital as his health problems worsened, with the former political adviser, who worked with New Labour, enduring sepsis and a kidney infection before suffering a heart attack last month.

Kate would spend every hour by his side as doctors treated him, including at Christmas, when his children could celebrate the day with their father.

LBC's James O'Brien said: "Derek Draper's sense of mischief is one of the most finely tuned and enjoyable to witness that I have ever had the pleasure of encountering.

Read more: Kate Garraway shares how life with Derek Draper has become a 'new dance' but it's 'not all doom and gloom'

"He was so naughty, it would beggar belief.

He moved across all sorts of areas, working in strategy and campaigning, for the Labour Party.

Kate Garraway has paid tribute to Derek Draper after he died aged 56
Kate Garraway has paid tribute to Derek Draper after he died aged 56. Picture: Shutterstock

Kate Garraway on the challenges of juggling responsibilities of caring for her husband and parent

"Popped up in the Daily Express in a column when I worked there, and he was something of a stalwart, shall we say, of the social scene.

"You always knew if you came across a room on the rubber chicken circuit or you were to bump into him at a book launch or a political event, you always knew if you could just inveigle into his orbit you would have a laugh, a very big smile painted on your face, within moments.

"That's why it was so striking. All illness is sad, all deaths are heartbreaking, but it sometimes seems the more life you have, the more life a person possesses, the more vivacity, the more vitality a person possesses, the sadder it is to see it seep away.

"And Derek Draper, I can tell you for a fact was so lively and so vital that he will leave a very big hole in many people's lives. He will always be very, very fondly remembered. Our love to my friend and colleague here at Global Radio, Kate Garraway."

Her fellow ITV presenter Lorraine Kelly said: "So sorry Kate. You fought so hard. Just incredibly sad. Sending you love."

Tony Blair said: "It is extraordinary and remarkable that Derek survived so long after the ravages of Covid. And that was in large measure due to the love Derek had for his family and they for him. This also says something very special about Derek.

"He was a tough sometimes ruthless political operative, a brilliant adviser and someone you always wanted on your side.

"But underneath that tough exterior he was a loving, kind, generous and good natured man you wanted as a friend.

"He was an important part of the New Labour story, at the centre of things right at the beginning. But most important of all, he was a good colleague and great friend. And we will miss him deeply."

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