Captain Sir Tom Moore dies at age 100 after contracting COVID-19

By Zach Harper

Captain Sir Tom Moore, the veteran who captivated millions by raising money for COVID-19 relief efforts in the early days of the pandemic, has died at age 100 after battling the virus.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our dear father, Captain Sir Tom Moore," his daughters said in a statement.

"The last year of our father's life was nothing short of remarkable. He was rejuvenated and experienced things he'd only ever dreamed of. Whilst he'd been in so many hearts for just such a short time, he was an incredible father and grandfather, and he will stay alive in our hearts forever."

The Queen knighted Tom at Windsor Castle on the same day as Princess Beatrice's wedding last year. Her Majesty will send a private message of condolence to his family, the Royal Family tweeted on Feb. 2.

"Her Majesty very much enjoyed meeting Captain Sir Tom and his family at Windsor last year," the tweet read. "Her thoughts and those of the Royal Family are with them."

"Thank you for everything, Tom," the National Health Service tweeted as it reacted to his death.

"Captain Tom was an inspiration and a true NHS hero," the London Ambulance Service tweeted. "Our thoughts are with his loved ones and all who we're close to him."

"We're deeply saddened to learn of the passing of @captaintommoore," the account that's home to England's national soccer teams tweeted. "We were honoured to welcome Captain Sir Tom as the leader of our #Lionhearts last year and know that what he achieved will continue to inspire so many. All of our thoughts are with his family and friends."

On Jan. 31, it was revealed Tom had been hospitalized with COVID-19 after being diagnosed with the previous week. He was being treated for pneumonia at the time, his daughter Hannah said.

"He was at home with us until today when he needed additional help with his breathing," she said on social media as she revealed the news. "He is being treated in a ward, although he is not in ICU.

"The medical care he has received in the last few months has been remarkable and we know that the wonderful staff at Bedford Hospital will do all they can to make him comfortable and hopefully return home as soon as possible."

The Queen knights Tom Moore at Windsor Castle in July 2020. Photo: © Chris Jackson/Getty Images

In April 2020, Tom, who was then 99 years old, started walking around his garden to raise money for NHS Charities Together. He initially wanted to raise just £1,000 (approximately $1,750) by the time he turned 100. His campaign quickly caught on and received worldwide traction and attention. By the end of his 100th birthday on April 30, 2020, he had raised nearly £33 million pounds (approximately $57 million) for the charity.

"When we started off with this exercise, we didn't anticipate we'd get anything near that sort of money," Tom told BBC News last year. "It's really amazing. All of them, from top to bottom, in the National Health Service, they deserve everything that we can possibly put in their place. They're all so brave. Because every morning and night they're putting themselves in harm's way, and I think you've got to give them full marks for that effort.

"We're a little bit like having a war at the moment. But the doctors and the nurses, they're all on the front line, and all of us behind. We've got to supply them and keep them going with everything that they need, so that they can do their jobs even better than they're doing now."

Tom's campaign inspired people so much that he was sent hundreds of thousands of birthday cards ahead of turning 100. Here, Tom's grandson, Benjie, is seen in the Great Hall of Bedford School in Bedfordshire, England with more than 120,000 birthday cards were sent to Captain Sir Tom last year. Photo: © Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images

In 2018, a fall left Tom with a broken hip, broken rib and punctured lung. The NHS gave him treatment for his injuries. His fundraising campaign during the pandemic was not only to support front-line workers, but to also thank the NHS for the care it gave him when he was recovering and for skin cancer the same year. When he started walking around the garden, he was recovering from several of those broken bones.

Born in Keighley, West Yorkshire in 1920, Tom fought in India and Burma in the Second World War. He was the recipient of four medals during that time, including the Burma star and War Medal.

After the war, Tom married his first wife, Billie, in 1949. They later divorced, and he married Pamela in 1968. They had two children together, Lucy and Hannah. Pamela passed away in 2006.

Tom was also a motorcycle enthusiast from an early age. He bought his first motorbike when he was just 12 years old and raced them competitively, even winning several competitions. He was also a keen photographer, having inherited the love for that art form from his father, who also loved taking pictures.

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