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June 19, 2024
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Kate Garraway showed ‘strength and courage’ as she fought desperate financial battle to care for husband Derek Draper before his death

Kate Garraway faced financial hardship as a result of the high costs involved in caring for her husband Derek Draper, prior to his death at the age of 56.

The presenter announced the death of her husband of 18 years on Instagram on Friday morning and said: ‘Rest gently and peacefully now Derek, my love, I was so lucky to have you in my life.’

Derek suffered a heart attack before Christmas following a long battle with Covid.

Kate cared for her husband Derek’s every need, while juggling television work and her radio show.

A source close to Kate, who works with her at ITV, told The Sun: ‘Kate has been through hell and back – and, by virtue of her career, it’s all been played out in the public domain.

The presenter announced the death of her husband of 18 years on Instagram on Friday morning
Kate Garraway faced financial hardship as a result of the high costs involved in caring for her husband Derek Draper, prior to his death at the age of 56
The presenter announced the death of her husband of 18 years on Instagram this morning and said: ‘Rest gently and peacefully now Derek, my love, I was so lucky to have you in my life.’

‘The strength of character and courage she’s shown, quite simply, is indescribable.

READ MORE: How Kate Garraway campaigned selflessly for her husband Derek Draper after he fell seriously ill – and shone a light on the carers committing themselves to others across the country 

‘She would come into work, every single day, after three hours of broken sleep, plaster on a smile, and sit in make-up having her heartbroken, tear-stained face covered with studio make-up. It was truly remarkable.’

Months prior to his death, in March, Kate also addressed the financial toll of Derek’s illness – with Kate hit by a £716,000 tax bill when she was forced to close his business.

Kate told The Sun at the time: ‘Of course it’s been tough financially. As anyone with a loved one who is seriously ill knows, the costs go through the roof in so many ways. You have to make changes to your home and it affects your ability to work. I had to take long periods off when Derek was first sick, and of course it affects the overall income for the family as he can no longer work.’

Friends have said heartbroken Kate is ‘bearing up’ after her husband Derek’s death – as ITV told the star she could have ‘as much time off as she needs’.

A friend of Kate’s told the Mail: ‘She is doing okay, she is bearing up and is being strong for her children.’

Kate who had two children with Derek, Darcey, 17, and their youngest, Billy, 11, said in her emotional Instagram post: ‘I’m sad to have to tell you all that my darling husband Derek has passed away.

‘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.

Derek Draper in 2021 with his wife Kate and children Darcey and Billy after returning home from hospital, where he was Britain’s longest suffering Covid patient. He has died age 56
Derek was diagnosed with coronavirus at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 and left in a life-threatening condition
Kate revealed she was holding her husband’s hand when he died

‘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’.

She added: ‘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.

READ MORE: Derek Draper: The New Labour spin doctor who won heart of Kate Garraway

Derek and Kate on their wedding day in 2005

‘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.’

Mr Draper was a former researcher for Blairite Peter Mandelson who became a New Labour spin doctor and later retrained as a psychotherapist after a series of political and lobbying scandals.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will write privately to Ms Garraway on behalf of the Labour Party, the PA news agency reports

Tragically Mr Draper was among the first in the UK to fall seriously ill with Covid-19 and was admitted to an intensive care unit as the country entered lockdown in March 2020.

He was one of the country’s longest-suffering Covid patients after being in hospital but never fully recovered after the virus left long-lasting damage to his organs and meant he needed round-the-clock care.

Former prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown led tributes today. Mr Brown tweeted: ‘So sad that after such a brave struggle Derek Draper has lost his life as a result of Covid. I will remember him as brilliant, creative and multitalented, and our thoughts are with Kate, Darcey and Billy. RIP Derek’.

He suffered a massive heart attack last month and MailOnline understands he passed away on Wednesday night in a North London hospital. Kate said that he died surrounded by family and his passing led to several friends and former colleagues breaking down on live TV when the sad news broke.

Derek, 56, who has been plagued with health woes after contracting Covid in 2020, was said to be in a critical condition (pictured in June with Kate’s parents Gordon and Marilyn after his wife collected her MBE)
Derek and Kate on their wedding day in 2005 as they declared their vows

Sir Tony Blair said: ‘I am so sad to hear the news about Derek. My heart goes out to Kate and their children William and Darcey.

READ MORE: Ben Shephard says he’s ‘passing on fans’ messages of support’ to his GMB co-host Kate Garraway as he shares a moving tribute to her husband Derek Draper after his death

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.’

Alastair Campbell, a fellow prominent New Labour figure in the 1990s, described Derek Draper as ‘a huge character’.

The ex-No 10 director of communications tweeted: ‘Very sad to hear the news about Derek Draper. He was a huge character, a giver not a taker, and had so much more to give before Covid took its toll.

‘Sad above all for @kategarraway and the children. Their love and support was profound and unshakeable to the end. RIP’.

Derek Draper was fired after the 1998 lobbying scandal that engulfed New Labour
Derek Draper was fired after the 1998 lobbying scandal that engulfed New Labour

Speaking to Times Radio, Speaker of the House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle said Derek’s death was a ‘complete tragedy’.

READ MORE: How Derek Draper and Kate Garraway’s brave children handled dad’s illness before his tragic death aged 56

He added: ‘We’ve seen Kate and the children looking after Derek, supporting him, and (people) must be in awe that Kate has been so dedicated.

‘The fact that she had this great career of her own, but what she did, she put Derek first, and the children were supporting him all the way through. My heart goes out for them.’

He summed up: ‘I will remember him for his controversy, his vibrancy and his humour that always shone through.’

Derek had been plagued with health woes after contracting Covid in 2020 and suffered a cardiac arrest in early December, with Kate spending Christmas at hospital. Ms Garraway and Mr Draper married in 2005 and have two children, Darcey and Billy.

In an interview with The Times in September 2023, Kate shared that she worried about her children during her husband’s health struggle.

Looking back on their lives, Kate confessed she is not ‘equipped’ for raising their teenage children without her husband.

‘My instinct is always keep everything good, keep everything nice, but he was always fine with stand-up rows,’ she said. ‘He said it was all about boundary-setting, so I always felt he was going to be amazing in their teens.

‘So I feel, like, ‘Derek, of all the times, I am not equipped for this without you.’ And it makes me miss the old Derek so much.’

Derek, 56, returned home from hospital after 13 months but he never fully recovered (pictured with his family in their garden)

Kate Garraway spent Christmas in hospital after Derek was left fighting for his life as he suffered a heart attack. She was seen shopping in a Christmas hat last week and she announced his death today

In 2022, Kate was forced to take the tough decision to shutter her husband’s firm after it racked up debts of almost £200,000 when he was struck down with Covid.

READ MORE:  Full timeline of Kate Garraway and Derek Draper’s relationship: Inside couple’s heartfelt love story from first glances 20 years ago to Derek’s tragic death

Derek’s once successful psychotherapy company, Astra Aspera Ltd, owed £184,000 — including £125,000 in taxes. A liquidator was appointed to break up the firm’s assets.

Kate has also opened up about the financial burden of paying for Derek’s care, telling The Sun last year that ‘costs have gone through the roof in so many ways’.

She added that their home has needed to be adapted to suit Derek’s needs, and that her working life has been impacted as a result of her husband’s illness.

Lorraine Kelly is among those who have sent messages of support to Kate Garraway after she announced her husband Derek Draper has died following suffering long-lasting symptoms from coronavirus.

In the comments of Garraway’s announcement post on Instagram, Kelly wrote to her follow ITV presenter: ‘So sorry Kate. You fought so hard. Just incredibly sad. Sending you love’.

Radio host Zoe Ball said she was ‘heartbroken’ for Garraway and her children.

She added: ‘So much love coming your way from so many. May Derek’s star always shine brightest for you xxxx’

Derek and Kate on their wedding day in 2005 as they gave their vows

Singer and presenter Peter Andre said he was ‘sorry’ to hear the news, adding: ‘We send all our love. Thoughts with you all.’

READ MORE: Her love kept him alive: Derek Draper’s resilience, paired with Kate Garraway’s endless love and courage, inspired millions and will leave an enduring legacy after he lost four-year battle against long Covid, writes CHRISTOPHER STEVENS

Comedian Alan Carr also shared his sympathies with the TV presenter, saying: Oh Kate that’s so awful. Sending you so much love and the deepest condolences.’

Kate’s Good Morning Britain and GMTV co-presenter Eamonn Holmes said in a comment on her Instagram post: ‘Thinking of you and the children Kate . He was many things, including too young. Sad times. With deepest condolences Eamonn.’

Other tributes came thick and fast from the likes of Paul Hollywood, Steps star Ian ‘H’ Watkins, Girls Aloud’s Kimberley Walsh, TV presenter Kate Thornton and The Prince’s Trust.

A prominent figure in New Labour in the 1990s, Mr Draper worked for Blairite Peter Mandelson and set up the Progress organisation with Liam Byrne, who went on to become an MP.

After he was embroiled in the so-called ‘cash-for-access’ scandal, dubbed ‘lobbygate’, he travelled to the United States, where he retrained as a psychotherapist.

In 2021, Ms Garraway won a prize at the National Television Awards for the documentary Finding Derek, about her family’s experience during the pandemic.

It detailed her husband’s treatment and his subsequent return to their family home.

Derek was catastrophically ill in hospital after becoming one of the first people to catch covid

She has also written books about her experience of caring for her husband, including The Power of Hope and The Strength of Love, the latter of which came out in September.

READ MORE: Kate Garraway and Derek Draper’s last outing together: GMB star and her seriously ill husband attended wedding of his ex-boss Peter Mandelson two months before he tragically lost Covid battle

In July 2022, Garraway confirmed Mr Draper had been readmitted to hospital and later that month it was reported that his condition had worsened.

His battle with the virus won much attention and support, including from former prime minister Boris Johnson and the royal family.

Former lobbyist and political adviser Mr Draper was part of one of Britain’s most prominent media power couples .

The New Labour spin doctor reached great heights of influence in the 1990s but became best known for his involvement in the ‘lobbygate’ scandal.

After leaving Mandelson’s team, Mr Draper became a director of lobbying firm GPC Market Access in 1996 and set up the New Labour organisation Progress with Liam Byrne, who went on to become an MP.

It was while working at GPC that Mr Draper was caught on tape boasting to an undercover journalist of his government connections.

In one of the first sleaze scandals to hit Tony Blair’s fledgling administration, he reportedly claimed: ‘There are 17 people who count in this government, and to say I am intimate with all of them is the understatement of the century.’

He returned home to be with his family but fell seriously ill last month and died this week

Mr Draper insisted he had done nothing wrong in the so-called ‘cash for access’ scandal dubbed ‘lobbygate’ but admitted he did have a ‘big mouth’.

The incident appeared to spell the end of any bigger political ambitions for the famously champagne-swilling New Labour stalwart and he travelled to the United States, where he trained as a psychotherapist.

READ MORE: Revealed: Kate’s most recent TV appearance before husband Derek passed away – which saw her sing poignant rendition of Stay Another Day on ITV on Christmas Eve

In 2005, Mr Draper married Ms Garraway, the GMTV co-presenter who is now part of the Good Morning Britain team on ITV and appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2007 and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in November 2019.

In 2008 he returned to the Labour spotlight as the head of the website LabourList, a left-wing rival to online portals such as Conservative Home.

He hit the headlines again in 2009 and stepped down as editor of LabourList after email correspondence between him and Damian McBride, one of Gordon Brown’s key aides, was leaked.

In the emails, Mr McBride proposed a campaign of unfounded personal smears against senior Conservatives on a new blog called RedRag, an idea praised by Mr Draper as ‘absolutely, totally brilliant’.

In a resignation statement released to the Guardian, Mr Draper acknowledged that his continued presence at LabourList – which was originally set up to discuss serious policy ideas – was detracting from the website.

‘I regret ever receiving the infamous email and I regret my stupid, hasty reply. I should have said straight away that the idea was wrong,’ he said.

‘I do ask people to remember that its contents were never published by me, or anyone else, involved in the Labour Party and they would never have seen the light of day were it not for someone hacking into my emails and placing them into the public domain.

‘Because of that, a silly idea ultimately destined for the trash can became a national scandal.’

Kate previously described Derek as one of the sickest patients with Covid-19 doctors had treated. Pictured: The couple in 2008

Mr Draper was once again consigned to the Labour wilderness and became chief executive of a leadership consultancy, compiling weekly emails summarising the best content for business and HR leaders.

READ MORE:  ‘Derek Draper was someone you always wanted by your side’: Tony Blair leads tributes to ‘ruthless political operative’ who was New Labour spin doctor before forming media power couple with TV star wife Kate Garraway

In 2019 he announced he was resigning his Labour Party membership.

However, he remained in contact with his old political friends, attending Lord Mandelson’s wedding to wife Reinaldo in October.

Mandelson said in a tribute: ‘Derek was a truly remarkable and special person and Reinaldo and I were so pleased that, despite everything he has gone through, he came to our wedding at the end of October, as usual lighting up the room.

‘He showed talent in everything he turned his hand to and had he not been so tragically affected by Covid I could have imagined him pursuing another brilliant career.

‘He adored his family, Kate, Darcey and Billy, and they, like us all, adored him back.’

Mr Draper’s medical case attracted much media attention, partly because of his marriage to Ms Garraway, and partly because of the length of his hospital stay.

Some media reported that he had become the nation’s longest-suffering patient after spending 13 months in hospital.

Just over a year after contracting Covid, Mr Draper was able to leave hospital and return to his family home in north London, with round-the-clock care

In early July 2022, Ms Garraway disclosed that Derek had been readmitted to hospital and later that month dropped out of presenting Good Morning Britain as his condition worsened.

The following February, the ITV series Kate Garraway: Caring for Derek aired on ITV, and documented Draper’s arrival home from the hospital while also following Garraway as she navigated the ‘myriad challenges of the social care system and its complexities’.

Mr Draper was photographed by his wife’s side in June, despite being in and out of hospital, when she collected her MBE from the Prince of Wales in an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle.

He was also pictured in October at Lord Mandelson’s wedding, shaking hands with the ex-first secretary of state.

In December, The Sun reported that Mr Draper had ‘suffered a massive heart attack’ and said Garraway was keeping a 24/7 vigil by his bedside.

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