‘Inseparable’ couple married for 47 years die from Covid 4 days apart after husband 'gave up' when he knew wife had gone

AN “INSEPARABLE” couple who had been married for 47 years died from coronavirus just four days apart. 

Sue Shaikh, 75, died of the virus in hospital on December 29 while her husband Basim, 76, passed away at their flat in London on January 2. 

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The couple had lived in Barnt Green, Worcestershire, all of their married life but moved to Kensington, West London five years ago to be nearer to their two children and three grandchildren.

Daughter Caroline, 43, said the family had not informed Basim about Sue’s death, but claimed he “just knew” and “gave up” after she tragically passed away. 

She said: “I do think my dad knew my mum had died and just gave up.

“In a way, it's a blessing they died within days of each other because I cannot imagine how my mum would have coped without the love of her life.

“They were inseparable, two peas in a pod, who wouldn't have been able to live without the other one.”

Basim, originally from Iraq, fled his home country as a teenager to escape religious persecution as he and nine siblings came from a prominent Catholic family.

He met Sue while studying for a PhD in mechanical engineering at Birmingham University, where she worked as a secretary.

Despite both being engaged to other people at the time, the pair fell in love, broke off their engagements and were married within a year. 

Basim was a well-known businessman and worked in the oil and gas industry, spending large parts of the year in Abu Dhabi. 

Caroline said that mum Sue went into Chelsea and Westminster hospital just before Christmas after contracting the virus – and died a week later. 

The family had been strictly abiding by the rules as Basim was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in May last year – and told he would not survive beyond 2021. 

I cannot imagine how my mum would have coped without the love of her life

Mum-of-two Caroline said: “My parents had been really careful and hadn't left the house for four months – apart from hospital visits for my dad because of his brain tumour.

“We honestly thought mum would pull through, but in the end because she had Type 2 diabetes, Covid got her and she passed away after a week.

“Because my dad was very ill we decided not to tell him straight away that she'd died, but he somehow knew she'd gone.

“He said to us 'she's gone hasn't she?' and then a few days later passed away himself.

“We didn't even know he had Covid until the last two days when he developed a cough and then it just took over really quickly and he was gone.”

She added: "Because I'd had Covid myself in November, I was able to spend the last three days of my dad's life by his bedside, talking to him and reminiscing about his life.”

Caroline said the family had been “inundated” with messages and cards from residents in Barnt Green expressing their condolences. 

The funeral will be held in London on January 18. 

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