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UK's lockdown hero Captain Tom Moore dies at 100 after battling COVID-19

UK's lockdown hero Captain Tom Moore dies at 100 after battling COVID-19

Captain Tom Moore smiles as he launches his autobiography, Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day, at his home in Milton Keynes, the United Kingdom, on Sep 17, 2020. (File photo: Reuters/Dylan Martinez)

LONDON: Britain's Captain Tom Moore, the centenarian who became a national hero with his record-breaking fundraising exploits, has died after contracting COVID-19.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our dear father, Captain Sir Tom Moore," his daughters said in a statement.

Moore died on Tuesday morning at Bedford Hospital. He had tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan 22 and was fighting pneumonia. Over the last five years, Moore had been receiving treatment for prostate and skin cancer, his family said.

He had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 due to the other medication he was taking.

Moore struck a chord with locked-down Britain by walking 100 lengths of his garden with the help of a walking frame to raise more than £30 million (US$41 million) for health service workers.

Retired British Army Captain Tom Moore, 99, walks to raise money for health workers, by attempting to walk the length of his garden one hundred times before his 100th birthday in this undated handout taken sometime April 2020. (Photo: Maytrix Group/Handout via REUTERS)

News that he was in hospital prompted messages of support from well-wishers in Britain and beyond, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the British Army, the England football team and the head of the World Health Organization.

The World War II veteran caught the public's imagination last April, just before his 100th birthday, when he was filmed carrying out his fundraising mission in his garden in the village of Marston Moretaine, 80km north of London.

He hoped to raise £1,000. Instead, he raised more than £32 million for the National Health Service, broke two Guinness World Records, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, scored a No 1 single, wrote an autobiography and helped set up a charity.

An NHS staff member wipes her eyes as she holds a sign to thank British veteran Captain Tom Moore. (Photo: AFP/Anthony Devlin)

His endeavor spread joy amid the grim news of the coronavirus outbreak.

"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," his daughters said.

"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."

Raised in Yorkshire, northern England, Moore served in India, Burma and Sumatra during World War Two.

"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."

Britain's Queen Elizabeth will send a private message of condolence to the family of Captain Tom Moore after the record-breaking fundraiser died aged 100 on Tuesday, Buckingham Palace said.

"Her Majesty very much enjoyed meeting Cpt Sir Tom and his family at Windsor last year," a palace statement said.

"Her thoughts, and those of the Royal Family, are with them, recognising the inspiration he provided for the whole nation and others across the world."

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Source: AGENCIES/kg

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