Anti-vaxxer musician who appeared in ITV show begged family to get jab before Covid death

Dr Hilary says anti-vaxxers ‘not thinking of others’

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The former Bad Lads’ Army contestant had been in intensive care with flu-like symptoms and blood clots after testing positive for coronavirus. The musician was a COVID-19 sceptic and claimed he was “shocked” to have become so unwell with the virus, in spite of his healthy lifestyle.

Mr Birks thought he wouldn’t become infected because he exercised five times a week, but from his hospital bed he urged other sceptics to get their jabs and not make the same mistake.

The 40-year-old father-to-be was hospitalised with flu-like symptoms after contracting the virus in early August.

Mr Birks died on Friday at the Royal Stoke University Hospital.

The performer said he’d been “ignorant” and regretted “putting off” getting the vaccine after his coronavirus symptoms worsened and he experienced breathing difficulties.

The vaccine-sceptic toured with his wife Lis, who is currently pregnant, and the pair performed together as the group The Cameleonz.

The couple had been married for 10 years, and following his death, Lis paid tribute to her late husband, writing: “My heart has been completely ripped out and I don’t know how you are supposed to deal with such pain and hurt.”

In an interview with the BBC following his hospital admission, Mr Birks admitted he “kind of was ignorant towards” getting the vaccine, and had “just put it off”.

He said: “If you haven’t been ill, you don’t think you’re going to get ill, so you listen to the [anti-vaccine] stuff.”

The musician from Leek, Staffordshire, had commented that he rarely got ill, and didn’t want others to make the same mistake or experience the same suffering.

He said: “First thing I am going to tell all my family to do is get the vaccine and anybody I see. And as soon as I can get it, I am definitely getting it.”

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While in the intensive care unit at Royal Stoke University Hospital, Mr Birks commented on the experience that started with a flu-like feeling, which got progressively worse: “When you feel like you can’t get enough breath, it’s the scariest feeling in the world.”

After his death, his wife Lis shared a heartbreaking Facebook post describing her late husband as “the most incredible, caring, loving, loyal, selfless, proud man and all he wanted to do was to help as many people as he could. That, in itself, showed what a pure heart and soul he had”.

She said: “I would like to thank you all for your kind words and support over these last few weeks. Marcus was truly blown away by how many of you sent your love to him.”

The mum-to-be also added: “I made him a promise that I will tell our baby boy everyday how much he loves him, how special he is and how he would have been/is the best dad a son could ever wish for.”

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