Heartbreak for family as Shropshire artist and ‘Covid denier’ dies aged 46
The heartbroken family of a Covid-19 denier who died after contracting the virus have urged people to help their loved ones avoid getting swept up in the lies.
Gary Matthews was aged 46 when he died
A talented artist, proudly sharing his work and enjoying that of others over a couple of beers with friends at Shrewbury’s old C21 bar.
Those are the fond memories of Gary Matthews that one family member will hold dear, a far cry from the isolated figure swept up in a virtual echo chamber of conspiracies and lies that may well have contributed to his premature death.
Gary, from Shrewsbury, died on January 13 after contracting Covid-19. He was just 46, had been ill for a week and tested positive the day before he died.
It is not known exactly how he caught the virus, which has killed more than 100,000 people in the UK, but according to his family he did not wear a mask or adhere to safety measures and continued to meet with friends.
Gary did not believe the virus was real, and shared in that belief among online forums which refute indisputable facts in favour of theories that suit their own agenda.
In a cruel twist of fate, it was the very virus in which he disbelieved that contributed to his death.
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His cousin Tristan Copeland wanted to remember the kind and creative man that his family and friends knew best.
“He was still a beloved member of the family and he didn’t change as a person,” he said. “He always loved his painting. He painted portraits. A lot of his work was around celebrity culture.
“We used to got to C21, where creators would go together to put on displays and have a couple of beers. He was a brilliant artist. He’d always be happy to whip up a quick sketch. He could be a bit shy but he was always kind.
“It has been heartbreaking for the family. We’re still taking it all in. They were all very close. He’d speak to his family every other day. He had a sister and a niece and nephew.”
Gary Matthews with one of his large-scale portraits of Roger Moore as James Bond
Many people have felt desperate in the search of more information over the course of this pandemic – whether its worries over health or jobs, or simply a yearning to escape the loneliness and isolation and return to the social lives we used to enjoy.
And a lot feel let down by the politicians in charge of getting us out of it, and the attempts of the media to hold them to account. Both are legitimate views to hold as people are bombarded by a daily deluge of information.
But, sadly, the heart-wrenching stories people have told of their loved ones gasping their final breaths alone in an ICU and the desperate pleas of respiratory consultants who are seeing their wards fill up with gravely ill patients, is not enough for some.
TAP. It is not clear what his illness was, his friend mentioning asthma. His own family were obviously estranged from him. If he thought COVID didn’t exist, why would he have a test for it? His business and livelihood would be badly affected by the lockdowns. There’s more to this story I suspect, but the Shropshire Star wants to spin it as a COVID fear generator – as per usual. Gary was talented and intelligent and no doubt hurt badly by the rejection of his family in his beliefs that COVID is a fake. His own family cut him off for trying to help them to realise where the real threats lie, but they preferred the mush on their TV sets and local newspaper to the knowledge of their own brilliant child/sibling. Of course the creepy BBC ran with the same line as The Shropshire Star. The COVID fear narrative needs a boost, as more and more realise it’s a scam. I wonder if he had that test at all. If he did, did it sign a warrant? I am sure that newsworthy deaths are much sought after by certain people.
Nick Kollerstrom demonstrates that the death figures went up during lockdowns everywhere in the world. When COVID was simply announced, deaths even went down. I would say the lockdowns killed Gary as they have hundreds of thousands of people across the world.