Kate Garraway to take leave of absence following death of husband Derek Draper

Presenter intends to return to her TV and radio presenting roles in the future

Isobel Lewis
Saturday 06 January 2024 11:35 GMT
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Derek Draper: Kate Garraway’s husband dies after long Covid battle aged 56

Kate Garraway will take a leave of absence from her presenting roles following the death of husband, former political adviser Derek Draper, aged 56.

On Friday (5 January), Good Morning Britain presenter Garraway announced that her husband had died after suffering long-lasting symptoms from Covid-19.

In a statement shared on Instagram, she wrote: “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.”

Following the announcement, Garraway, 56, will be taking a break from her TV and radio presenting roles for the time being. The presenter, who hosts GMB and her own show on Smooth Radio, plans to return to work in the future, the PA news agency understands.

After the Garraway shared the news on social media, Garraway’s famous friends rushed to offer their condolences, with “RIP Derek” trending on Twitter into Friday evening.

You can follow The Independent’s live blog for the latest tributes and updates.

Kate Garraway, with her husband Derek Draper and her parents Gordon and Marilyn Garraway (PA Archive)

Draper fell seriously ill with Covid-19 in March 2020 and spent 13 months in hospital before he was discharged. Despite being free of the virus, he had suffered long-lasting damage to his organs and required daily care.

In July 2022, Garraway confirmed that her husband, with whom she shares two children, had been readmitted to hospital and later that month it was reported that his condition had worsened.

In December, it was reported on GMB that Draper was in “a very serious condition” after suffering a cardiac arrest.

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Writing about her husband’s death on social media, Garraway thanked the medical teams who “fought so hard to save him and to make his final moments as comfortable and dignified as possible”.

She added: “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.”

A former political lobbyist who later became a psychotherapist, Derek was remembered on social media by former prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, as well as former party leader Ed Miliband.

Blair said Draper was “an important part of the New Labour story, at the centre of things right at the beginning” who will be missed as a “good colleague and great friend”.

GMB and ITV stars were among those to pay tribute to Draper as a “brilliantly clever and funny man” and praise Garraway for being “so strong and brave” when helping her husband through his long illness.

Her co-star Ben Shephard shared a poignant tribute to Instagram with a picture of Draper kissing Garraway on the cheek.

“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 wrote.

“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.” He added: “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.”

Lorraine Kelly wrote on Instagram: “This is just so sad. Our friend Kate Garraway has been so strong and brave. Thoughts with her and her children and family. She was right by his side until the end and did him proud. An astonishing woman.”

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

She followed the special up with Caring For Derek, and had a third ITV documentary planned. Garraway also brought out several books describing her experience.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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