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Ray’s powerful interview with the family of a Sydney man who died from COVID-19

Ray Hadley

The family of a Sydney man who passed away due to COVID-19 say he was a “robust” well-loved man in good health, who had so much life left to live.

In a powerful interview with Ray Hadley this morning, Jeff Hohnen said prior to his death, his father-in-law Barry Holt was playing golf weekly, living a good life.

Mr Hohnen and his son also contracted the virus.

On Friday, the family farewelled Mr Holt, aged 83.

His was the first death due to coronavirus since May and was the state’s 52nd fatality.

“He was living at my house, unfortunately he had to put his wife into a nursing home earlier this year,” Mr Hohnen said.

“He was living at my house waiting to get into a retirement village, he liked his independence.

“He was a fit, robust 83-year-old, he had his driver’s licence, played golf a couple times a week, there was absolutely nothing wrong with him.”

He rejected any suggestion that Mr Holt, and other elderly Australians who have died from COVID-19, were in the “last throes of life”.

“Nonsense,” he told Ray.

“He’s a man who could have, and would have lived well into his 90s.

“I’m fairly strong but to watch his 3 daughters having to Skype their father while he passed away, is a pretty hideous thing.

“When people say he was 83… well someone loved him, plenty of people loved him.

“He wasn’t just 83, he was their father, and grandfather.”

Ray said he had no words.

“I am terribly sad that his family had to Skype this man in the latter stages of his life instead of giving him a cuddle and saying dad we love you.

“It’s another face to this disease.”

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Image: Barry Holt with his wife, Julie

Ray Hadley