An award winning GP, Dr. Habib Zaidi, aged 76, has died at Southend Hospital in Essex, the Mirror reports.
He was taken ill on Tuesday and was said to have had “textbook coronavirus symptoms.”
He had been self-isolating for the previous week and had not seen any patients in that time.
The doctor had not had a test to confirm whether he had Covid-19, but his daughter, who is also a doctor, Sarah Zaidi, said that he had “textbook symptoms.”
“She said: “For that to be the thing that took him is too much to bear. It is reflective of his sacrifice.”
His family issued a heartbreaking, joint statement.
They said: “For him to be snatched from us in this way, in these desperately troubling times for the whole world, has left us truly heartbroken.
“Dr Habib Zaidi was devoted in the most altruistic way to the service of his patients and a local community, for 49 years, he served three generations of tens of thousands of families living in the town of Southend.
“His generosity and kindness knew no limits. A dear colleague described him as the father of the medical community. That makes us so proud to hear.”
“Not only did he serve his patients, working tirelessly for them, but he never stopped driving to innovate, continually develop, and drive up quality.
“That very much continued to drive him until the very end.
“We are overwhelmed, touched, and comforted by the many kind tributes we have received
“The name Habib means beloved, and beloved he truly was.
“We know that, not only has he left a gaping hole in our hearts, but a loss that is felt within the community that he devoted almost his entire life to.
“We are praying for the safety of everyone right now.”
Dr Zaidi has cared for many patients over the last nearly-fifty years and several of them paid tribute to him on BBC News Essex.
A woman named Iris had been seeing the GP since he first came to the UK from Pakistan almost 50 years ago.
Iris broke down in tears as she told BBC Essex: “I can’t believe that he’s gone. He was so lovely, so kind to everybody.
“I remember the last time I saw him, which was two weeks ago, just before all this, and he said to me “Keep strong”.
“And I always used to kiss the top of his head, and I said, “Please take care”. That’s the last time I remember him in the surgery.
“I knew him for 50-odd years. I knew him when he came round here as a young man and took over.
“He’d just come over from Pakistan, he was only in about his 30s or 40s.
“It’s so sad. His wife and children, they’re such a wonderful family.”
Dr. Zaidi is the first known doctor to die with Coronavirus symptoms. The illness has now killed a total of 578 people in Britain since the first known cases in January, and 11,658 have tested positive with Covid-19.
Featured image credit: UnSplash / NHS