The wife of the UK's longest-known Covid patient has revealed she "begged" him not to withdraw his treatment after he told her: "I just want to die" - as she paid tribute to him following his death.
Jason Kelk, 49, had spent more than a year in intensive care at St James' Hospital in Leeds after contracting coronavirus in March 2020, reports the Sky News.
His wife Sue told Sky News he died less than 90 minutes after his ventilator was switched off following his transfer to a hospice on Friday morning.
He was surrounded by Sue Kelk, his parents and his sister when he died at 12.40 pm on Friday.
Sue Kelk said her husband had made the "very brave decision" two weeks ago that he would end his treatment because "he didn't want to live like this anymore".
The primary school IT worker had suffered a "big setback" in his recovery at the end of April and "nobody could say to Jason that he was going to get back to where he'd been", she added.
"He really wasn't very well at all. He just said to me: 'I don't want to do this anymore. I can't do this anymore. I just want to die.'" Sue Kelk said.
"I really respect what he wanted to do because he had struggled. He made the very brave decision. I thought it was very courageous."
She also said that when her husband's parents visited him following his decision to withdraw his treatment "the first thing he said to them was: 'I don't want to carry on, I want to die'."
"We all had a bit of a go but he wasn't going to change his mind," she added.
Kelk had wanted to die at home but it was not possible to transfer him there, so he was moved to St Gemma's Hospice in Leeds.
Sue Kelk said the family were unsure how long he would survive without a ventilator and it was "probably about an hour/hour and a half".
"It was very peaceful," she said. "His breathing just slowed down and then it stopped. His mum and dad were holding his hand. His sister was there. I was there. It was really lovely."
In her final words to her husband, Sue told him "it was okay, that he'd fought the fight and he didn't need to fight anymore… we're here and we love you".
After Kelk died, she said she stayed with her husband's body "talking to him and telling him I loved him".
"I had a lovely hour just me and Jason," Sue Kelk added.
"He was my soulmate. We were opposite sides of the same coin - different but joined together."
In his final days, Kelk had seen his grandchildren, stepchildren, some of his closest friends and his boss, as they said goodbye to him.
But from Wednesday, he had not been able to communicate and only occasionally opened his eyes, Sue Kelk said.
She said ultimately she wished her husband had died in April last year so he would have avoided his 14-month battle with the virus.
"At times it's not been very pleasant for Jason," Sue Kelk added.
"I could never see him. Visiting was so restricted - an hour here or an hour there."
The 63-year-old former nurse said she "blames the government for not acting fast enough" in the early weeks of the pandemic.