A self-confessed vaccine sceptic who said ‘if he could turn back time he would’ after he was admitted to hospital earlier this month with Covid has died with the virus at the age of 34.
Matthew Keenan told friends that he ‘wished he had his jab’ after he was hospitalised at Bradford Royal Infirmary and placed in an induced coma in a bid to save his life just two weeks ago.
Dr Leanne Cheyne, a respiratory consultant at the West Yorkshire hospital, shared a photo of him in an oxygen mask and hooked up to a ventilator as he fought for his life.
Urging others to ‘grab a jab’, she wrote: ‘Matthew has agreed for me to share his story. 34, footie coach & dad. Self-confessed vaccine skeptic until he caught Covid. If he could turn back time he would. Our sickest patients are unvaccinated and under 40. Matthew is fighting for his life.. save yours.’
Mr Keenan, who was described as the ‘life of the party’, shared an image of his positive Covid lateral flow test on July 2. He said that the symptoms made him feel like he had been ‘hit by a truck’ after suffering from a fever and feeling ‘freezing and red hot’.
The Liverpool fan added that the back pain left him feeling ‘the most poorly I have ever been and I feel like it’s getting worse’. He ended the post saying he was ‘in bits’ and that ‘Covid is real’.
Tragically, it was confirmed on Monday that Mr Keenan had died with the virus. In a touching tribute, his friend of more than 20 years Billy Brown said the world lost ‘the kindest man’.
Matthew Keenan told friends that he ‘wished he had his jab’ after he was hospitalised at Bradford Royal Infirmary and placed in an induced coma in a bid to save his life just two weeks ago
Mr Keenan was a ‘devoted dad, a fantastic friend, and an unbeatable coach’
Dr Leanne Cheyne, a respiratory consultant at the West Yorkshire hospital, shared a photo of him in an oxygen mask and hooked up to a ventilator as he fought for his life
As well as national case rates coming down, the latest regional data from the Government’s coronavirus dashboard appears to show a decline or levelling off in every corner of England. Scientists still don’t know what has caused the sharp fall, but suspect it may be several contributing factors
The 38-year-old added that ‘grown men haven’t stopped crying’ since the news of Matthew’s tragic death broke.
Mr Keenan was a ‘devoted dad, a fantastic friend, and an unbeatable coach’, Mr Brown said. He added: ‘As he was getting more poorly, he said he wished he had gotten the jab. I can’t believe he’s gone, he was the most likeable lad I’ve ever met.
‘Most people have one or two best friends, he had 20 best friends. He had the biggest heart and treated everyone like they were his family. There were not many like him. He loved to enjoy himself, he was the life and soul of every party. Many people will miss him.’
Mr Brown was left in tears after he learned of his friend’s death this morning as he clung on to hope that he would still make it. He said that when he first caught the virus everyone believed Mr Keenan would get over it as he was a ‘fighter and a survivor’.
Mr Brown added: ‘We all thought it was Keenan, he’d get over this. Then he got put into a coma, and we were all praying for him. But we thought he was a fighter, a survivor.
Government dashboard data shows Covid case rates were highest among young adults and school-age children. But they were much lower among the over-80s. It is not yet clear which age group is driving the fall in cases
‘I’m a big strong lad, I’ve lost people before, but I’ve never cried so much as I did today as I did for anyone.’
A spokesman for the Bradford Sunday Alliance Football League said: ‘Wow a shock this morning, waking up to the devastating news that Matthew Keenan has passed away. Such a top lad gone too soon. Respected by everyone.
‘My heart goes out to all his family at this sad time RIP big man and sleep tight.’
Bradford’s Toller Football Club said: ‘Everyone at the club are saddened to hear the death of Bradford legend Matthew Keenan. Tragic news to wake up to. The guy was a gem. Always smiling and put his heart and soul into Station FC on a Sunday. Devastated for his partner and children.
‘Life is way too short. Don’t hold any grudges it’s not expensive to be kind. Hold onto your family and loved ones whilst you can. RIP lad.’
And Bradford rap outfit Bad Boy Chiller Crew posted a photo of Matthew on Facebook with the message: ‘Can’t believe we’re writing this but Bradford has lost an absolute legend.’
A spokesman for The Speak in Club, a mental health support group, said: ‘Absolutely gutted to hear of the passing of my mate Matthew Keenan. Genuinely one of the nicest people you will ever meet and the life and soul of everything.
‘He lit up everywhere he stepped. Fly high, my brother. You Will Never Walk Alone. Lean on each other these next few days, the hardest days are yet to come. Grieving people need anchors, there is no magic tricks to grief. Be somebody’s anchor if you can.’