Family of anti-vaxxer who died of Covid pay tribute and launch appeal

Family of anti-vaxxer musician and star of ITV’s Bad Lads’ Army who died from Covid pay tribute to ‘one-in-a-million’ father as they prepare to take on 10K assault course to raise money in his memory

  • Marcus Birks, 40, died from Covid-19 after choosing not to receive a vaccine jab
  • The 40-year-old made headlines urging people to get jabbed from hospital bed
  • Mr Birks never got to meet his son Blu who was born four months after his death 

The family of an anti-vaxxer musician who died from Covid have paid tribute to the ‘one-in-a-million’ father as they launch a charity appeal.

Marcus Birks, from leek, died last August after choosing to not get the Covid vaccine, believing he could not get ill because he exercised five times a week.

The 40-year-old, who once starred as a contestant on ITV’s Bad Lads’ Army, said he was shocked when he fell ill and said he regretted being ‘kind of ignorant’ about vaccines.

In an interview from his hospital bed, he said he had listened to social media and conspiracy theories online and urged others to get jabbed. 

He died in August before he got to meet his son, Blu Marcus, who was born in December.

His younger brothers, Ashley and Kyle Birks, say Marcus’s death has left a massive hole in their lives. 

Musician and father-to-be Marcus Birks, from leek, died last August after choosing to not get the Covid vaccine, believing he could not get ill because he exercised five times a week

Previously healthy Marcus thought he could not get sick as he exercised five times a week

Ashley, aged 34, from Leek, said: ‘Marcus was like light in a bottle. He wanted everything that life had to give and lived in the moment.

‘We were really close. We spent most days together. He lived for his family and nothing else.

‘Losing him happened out of nowhere, it happened so fast. We were in a daze. He and his wife had renewed their wedding vows and around that time a lot of people in our circle got Covid. I had it too.

‘I spoke to him every day while I was ill. Around day eight I was starting to feel better, but he wasn’t.

‘I told him any day now he should be getting back on his feet. Later that same day he had the ambulance out due to his oxygen levels being low.

‘From there he got worse while he was in hospital. The treatments weren’t working. Right up until he passed I still thought he would get better.

Marcus died before he could meet his son Blu. Pictured: Marcus and his wife of 10 years Lis

‘We still don’t really know why it went that way when Marcus was so healthy.

‘It gets to the point where you can’t dwell on it. He wouldn’t want us to do that. It has been really hard and there are different forms of grief that we are still going through, but we are trying to keep it positive going forward, especially for his son and his wife.’

Twenty-five-year-old Kyle, who lives on Market Place in Leek, said Marcus was a father-figure to him as well as a brother. He said: ‘Marcus was my best friend and a role model. I looked up to him, he was the head of the family.

‘He was one-in-a-million. He was down to earth, funny – a practical joker – but he was also the most sensitive person. Family was everything to him.

‘Since he’s been gone it’s like a big void in my life. We are all still struggling but it’s brought us closer together.

‘His son Blu is the spitting image of him. Having him is like having a piece of Marcus still here.

Pictured: Brothers Ashley Birks (left) and Kyle Birks (right) from Leek are doing a 10K race as a fundraiser in memory of their brother Marcus who they say suffered from mental health issues

‘Marcus was so excited about being a dad. He had achieved everything else he wanted in life. It’s really sad he didn’t get to meet his son.’

Former Leek High School pupil Marcus, who was one of six siblings, was a musician who had enjoyed success performing alongside his wife Lis. He had also appeared on several TV programmes.

The husband-and-wife were a pop duo, and performed as The Chameleonz and once sang in front of 30,000 shoppers at a shopping centre Christmas lights event.

Marcus was once signed to the Most Wanted band and also appeared in Bad Lads’ Army and Popstars: The Rivals on TV.

Ashley and Kyle are being joined by a group of Marcus’s friends to take on Born Survivor – a 10k assault course – on May 7. The group of around 15 competitors will be raising money for mental health charity Mind in Marcus’s memory.

Ashley said: ‘We want to make sure he’s remembered and do something positive. As a teenager Marcus suffered with his mental health and anxiety, and over the years he learned to combat that and have a positive mindset.

‘He became an advocate for mental health through his own journey so Mind is a fitting charity for us to raise money for.’

You can donate by going to the group’s JustGiving page here.

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