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Kate Garraway's GMB co-host Ben Shephard shares emotional tribute to Derek Draper

Kate revealed on Friday that her 'darling' husband Derek had passed away aged 56

Ben Shephard in navy-blue jumper
Phoebe Tatham
Content Writer
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Kate Garraway's Good Morning Britain co-host Ben Shephard has taken to social media to share a touching tribute to Derek Draper following Kate's announcement of his death on Friday.

Derek was taken into hospital before Christmas after suffering a heart attack which left him hospitalised. Kate, 56, announced Derek's heartbreaking death on Instagram alongside a photo of her husband.

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Her caption, in part, read: "I'm sad to have to tell you all that my darling husband Derek has passed away. 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.

"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 with Kate and their two children months before his death© Instagram
Kate and Derek share two children together

Kate's co-host, Ben, was amongst the first to pen an emotional tribute. Taking to Instagram on Saturday, the 49-year-old shared an image of Derek sweetly kissing Kate on the cheek, alongside which he wrote: "On what has been the saddest of days @kategarraway I've been reminding myself of the wonderful times and memories we have all shared together."

He went on to say: "This is how I'll always think of Derek - bringing you so much joy, your smile says it all, the size of which is matched only by his love for you, Darcey and Bill. Sending all our love Kate to you and all the family."

Ben finished by adding: "Also thank you to everyone who has reached out to me, I promise I will pass on your messages, I know they will bring Kate so much comfort as they have for the last few years."

Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway on staircase© Getty Images
Ben supported his friend and GMB co-host Kate Garraway

The star's friends and family flooded the comments section with heartfelt messages. Heaping praise on Ben and Kate's friendship, one follower wrote: "Beautiful words Ben to match your beautiful friendship with Kate and her family", while another added: "Awww Ben… Beautiful words for Dear Kate and her Family."

A third remarked: "I wish I had a colleague like you! It's so sad and just seems so unfair. Please hug Kate for all of us", and a fourth wrote: "You are a wonderful friend to Kate and the kids. She will be so pleased to have you by her side".

Derek's kids have been by his side since he fell ill in 2020© Instagram
Derek's kids have been by his side since he fell ill in 2020

Derek fell critically ill back in 2020 after contracting COVID-19. He spent 13 months in hospital before finally being allowed to move back to his family home, where Kate and specialist nurses took care of him. He was later readmitted in 2022 after his condition failed to improve.

A timeline of Derek Draper's health battle

March 2020: Derek is diagnosed with COVID-19

Kate's husband was rushed to hospital after contracting COVID-19. He was left critically ill and would remain in hospital for over a year, fighting complications from the disease.

April 24, 2020: Derek placed in medically induced coma 

Derek was placed in a medically induced coma to help his body battle the impacts of COVID. He lost eight stone during this time.

July 2020: Derek wakes from his coma

Kate revealed he was in a "minimally conscious state".  The presenter and her two children were finally able to visit Derek in hospital as coronavirus restrictions eased.

September 2020: Kate gives an update on Derek's health

Kate revealed that his first word when he came around was "pain". After 214 days in hospital, he was able to breathe without a ventilator.

March 23, 2021: Kate releases Caring for Derek documentary

The ITV programme offered an insight into the family's struggle and how different their lives had been since Derek fell ill.

April 8, 2021: Derek allowed to move home

Kate began providing 24/7 care for Derek at their family home in London. She revealed his speech was "very minimal" and that moving around was difficult.

April 2022: Derek reunites with nurse who cared for him

Kate interviewed his carer, Beth Dixon, on GMB. It was an emotional moment for the whole family.

June 2022: Derek briefly returns to hospital

A family insider said they were worried about Derek's condition. Kate also stepped back from her GMB presenting duties.

January 2023: Derek returns to hospital

Kate revealed Derek had fallen out of his wheelchair and expressed her concern at the long ambulance waiting times.

July 2023: Derek watches Kate receive her MBE

Kate was presented with an MBE for services to journalism. Derek was pictured sitting in a wheelchair and cheering her on in an emotional photograph.

September 2023: Kate shares heartbreaking update

The GMB host admitted they didn't know whether Derek would ever get better.

December 2023: Derek suffers a heart attack

Kate revealed Derek had suffered a setback and was re-admitted to hospital. She said watching her husband struggle daily was "heartbreaking".

In 2021, Kate won a gong at the National Television Awards for her documentary Finding Derek. The programme documented how Kate was caring for her husband following his return home from the hospital.

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