The heartbroken family of a Brixton 13-year-old who has become the youngest to die of the coronavirus have paid tribute to the medics who tried to save him and the people who have donated to his funeral expenses.
Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, from Brixton, died on Monday after testing positive for coronavirus.
His mother and six siblings released a statement which said: “We the family of Ismail Mohamed hereby issue this statement to first of all thank everyone who has expressed their prayers to us and supported us during this very difficult moment in our lives.
“We would like to pay tribute to our young boy Ismail Mohamed, who has passed away at the
tender age of 13. We are heartbroken as a family due to the devastation caused by the
Coronavirus as it becomes too real for us as a family and community. Ismail was a loving son,
brother, nephew to our family and a friend to the many people who knew him. His smile was heartwarming and he was always gentle and kind.
“We would like to pay tribute to our young boy Ismail Mohamed, who has passed away at
the tender age of 13. We are heartbroken as a family due to the devastation caused by the
Coronavirus as it becomes too real for us as a family and community. Ismail was a loving
son, brother, nephew to our family and a friend to many people who knew him. His smile
was heart-warming and he was always gentle and kind.
“Sadly, he passed away on Monday 30th of March at King’s College Hospital due to COVID-19
without his family present and this is very painful for us as family, particularly as a mother.
However, we are comforted by our belief that every life shall taste death and the fact that
we have no say when or how this will come about. As Muslims, we believe that this life is
short and temporary and we have to remain patient when facing hardship.
“We would also like to thank all the medics and professionals who did all that they could to
save our son’s life. And also, Madinah College for their support and for raising money for his
funeral expenses and for our family on our GoFundMe page.
“We are extremely grateful and
overwhelmed by the amount of support from all over the world and to everyone who has
donated even though they did not know Ismail – the impact of his death has touched the
hearts of many and we are truly humbled by this.
“As a family, we have decided not to release Ismail’s picture at this juncture as we are
concerned where it may end up and how this will impact us upon seeing it.
“We as a family are still trying to come to terms with the sudden death of Ismail. He leaves
behind six siblings who are completely devastated and this has been made more difficult
not being able to be with Ismail while he was in the hospital.
“Finally, we are all praying at this difficult time for all the people affected by this Covid-19
virus and we wish everybody speedy recovery. We also wanted to re-iterate the need for
people to listen to government guidance. Covid-19 is a virus that is attacking all members of
our society, not just older people or those with pre-existing conditions.
“So please do everything you can to ensure that we adhere to social distancing; that people stay at home
as much as they possibly can, to protect the NHS and save lives. We are also thankful for all the prayers and appreciate respect for our privacy from the media at this difficult time in our lives.”
More than £60,000 has been raised for funeral expenses on a GoFundMe page already – far exceeding the £4,000 target.
Ismail had no apparent underlying health conditions and is thought to be the youngest person in the UK to die with the Covid-19.
Ismail tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, a day after he was admitted to King’s College Hospital, his family said.
Family friend Mark Stephenson – a director of Arabic and Islamic studies at Madinah College, Tunstall Road, Brixton, where Ismail’s sister teaches – said the boy’s mother and six siblings are “beyond devastated” by his death. The family also lost his father to cancer recently.
“Ismail started showing symptoms and had difficulties breathing and was admitted to King’s College Hospital,” the family said.
“He was put on a ventilator and then put into an induced coma but sadly died yesterday morning. To our knowledge he had no underlying health conditions. We are beyond devastated.
“Sadly he died without any family members close by due to the highly infectious nature of Covid-19.
“We at Madinah College would like to appeal to our brothers and sisters to donate generously to help raise £4000 for the funeral costs and to support the family, who sadly also lost their father to cancer.”
An update this morning on the GoFundMe page set up by Mr Stephenson, also known as Abdul-Wahid Stephenson, said: “Any extra money raised will go directly to the family. The family is overwhelmed and grateful to all the donors and prayers, may Allah bless you and reward you all.”
Vauxhall MP Florence Eshalomi said: “This is a heart-breaking case and my deepest thoughts are with Ismail’s family at this terrible time.
“I spoke to Ismail’s family this morning to offer my condolences, and I will be helping them with whatever support they need at this difficult time.
“The family have asked for privacy while they try and come to terms with Ismail’s death, and I very much hope their wish will be respected.
“Ismail was a bright and ambitious boy who had the whole of his future ahead of him. This disease does not discriminate. And this personal tragedy shows the very real and devastating impact this virus is having on our society. We must follow the advice to stay at home and save lives.
“I’d also like to thank to the NHS staff at Kings for the heroic work they are doing during this crisis.”
To contribute to the family fund, go to: https://www.gofundme.com/f/janazah-expenses-for-ismail
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