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Husband from UK's first couple with Down's syndrome dies of Coronavirus, wife's 'completely lost'

Tommy Pilling passed away on New Year's day after reportedly contracting the virus while seeking treatment for a chest infection.

Husband from UK's first couple with Down's syndrome dies of Coronavirus, wife's 'completely lost'
Image source: Facebook/maryanneandtom

Tommy Pilling and Maryanne were UK's first couple with Down's Syndrome. After more than 25 years together, Tommy Pilling has passed away from Coronavirus on New Year's Day. Tommy, who hailed from Essex, was 62 when he passed away, leaving behind a heartbroken wife. Maryanne said she felt completely lost without Tommy. Her sister and carer said Tommy was "one of a kind." It all started after Tommy Pilling had got a chest infection in December. He had been in the hospital for treatment and is believed to have been exposed to the virus while there. He was diagnosed with the virus on December 17 and then developed pneumonia, which worsened his condition, reported The Mirror. This came after keeping the couple in a bubble during the past ten months because of the nature of the virus. Lindi Newman, Maryanne's sister, said the family is in "utter shock."




Lindi Newman recalled the day Maryanne and Tommy had met. "The day she met him, she had the biggest smile on her face and she couldn't stop talking about him." Lindi said the couple was never apart which made it all the harder for Maryanne now. "She doesn't remember a life before Tommy. She is absolutely devastated and in shock. One minute, she is hysterical and the next she is fine, then she cries again. It is so hard for all of us. I am so thankful my mum Linda Martin, 70, unofficially adopted him 30 years ago and made him apart of our family," she added. The pair had tied the knot in 1995 and had lived independently since. She moved in with her mother next door while Tommy was in the hospital. He had sought treatment at Basildon hospital, Southend, and Thurrock community hospital. He also had dementia.




"It is so cruel that he caught the virus in the hospital. He had no choice but to go in for treatment. I will cherish thousands of memories I have with Tommy, from cinema trips to zoo visits. He was a true gentleman. He told Maryanne and I that he loved us daily. Marriage made him my brother-in-law but love made him my brother," said Lindi. The couple was in the news recently after strangers sent them more than 2000 cards for Christmas.



Maryanne and Tommy Pilling met each other for the first time at a daycare center in 1991 and went on to date for 18 months before Tommy asked her to marry him. Tommy sought the permission of Maryanne's mother before using a toy ring from a vending machine to propose to her. “My wedding was the best day of my life. I was shocked when Tommy proposed but I didn’t have to think twice about saying yes,” Maryanne told The Independent. "The fact that they're still living independently and are doing great together, it's amazing. These last few years have been substantially harder and Maryanne does get upset—Maryanne had dreamt of a big white wedding since she was a little girl, and their relationship is one that has always been full of love," said Lindi Newman, earlier this year when the pair celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, reported The Daily Mail. 



Maryanne's mom Linda was devastated. "Tommy has left a vast hole in our lives that nobody will ever fill. I considered him as my son and I've never regretted a single moment of the three decades he was in my care. He brought us all so much love and job. I will always be thankful for the laughter and fun he brought to our lives." The couple also had a dedicated social media following with Maryanne’s sister running a Facebook page dedicated to the couple. The page has over 60,000 likes. 

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