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Australia has lost 100 people to COVID-19. Here are some of their stories.

Since March 1, Australia has lost 100 people to COVID-19 related illnesses.

The death toll has been a growing statistic we’ve heard for more than two months now, but behind the number are 100 people whose lives have ended, and whose families, friends and communities are grieving.

The death toll is the highest in New South Wales, where 47 people have been confirmed dead.

Mamamia’s daily news podcast The Quicky on what life is like on the front line of the nation’s extraordinary health crisis. Post continues below audio.


Victoria has lost 18 people, Tasmania has lost 13, Western Australia has lost nine, Queensland has lost six, South Australia has had four confirmed deaths and the ACT has had three.

Many names and details about these people’s lives are not yet known, and some families don’t want the details of their loved ones death to be in the public domain, but in this article, Mamamia hopes to pay tribute to the lives lost so far by highlighting the stories of a few of the much loved people who have passed.

James Kwan, 78, Perth.

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Perth man James Kwan. Image: Facebook.

James Kwan was the first person in Australia to die after being diagnosed with the coronavirus.

The 78-year-old Perth man and his wife Theresa, 79, were passengers on the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship which was quarantined off the Japanese coast in February.

In late February, the couple were flown to Perth from the quarantine facility at Howard Springs near Darwin.

He "passed away peacefully knowing his family loved him," his wife said in a statement at Perth's Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in the early hours of March 1.

Kwan is remembered as a "pioneer" of tourism in WA, where he founded Perth's first specialist inbound travel agency Wel-Travel in 1988. He was a founding member of the Western Australian Tour Operators Association, now known as the Australian Tourism Export Council.

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On social media, members of Kwan's golf club remembered him as a "true gentleman".

"When we were with James life always seemed so much fun," one member said.

Garry Kirstenfeldt, 68, Toowoomba.

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Garry Kirstenfeldt. Image: Facebook.

Garry Kirstenfeldt died on March 25, after holidaying on the Voyager of the Seas cruise ship in Sydney.

His family remembered him as a passionate traveller.

"Our father was a man with much more life in him," his four children said in a statement.

"He had been on 16 cruise ships and loved to relax with family or worry about activities to keep us entertained… We never expected his 17th cruise to be his last or no one to be at his side for the last moments of his life. As his family, this was the first time he had been in hospital and we were not at his side."

A GoFundMe page set up to help with funeral costs described him as "a man with much more life in him" and "the most incredible man in all our lives".

Ray Daniels, 73, Perth.

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Ray Daniels. Image: Facebook.
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Ray Daniels died at the Joondalup Health Campus on March 26, after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

He had disembarked from the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship in Sydney earlier in the week, which travelled between Sydney and New Zealand in March.

"We as a family are completely devastated by the sudden death of our father, husband and grandfather. He was a very fit, healthy and active man with no known underlying health issues. He showed no real significant signs of being unwell until he collapsed at home on Wednesday morning. He died within 48 hours," his family said in a statement.

"Clearly this virus does not discriminate and we never believed for one second that it would take him from us."

The family thanked paramedics, doctors, and nurses who "tried everything" to save Daniels' life.

His children Nicola and John Daniels spoke to ABC's 7.30 on March 31 to highlight the threat of the virus.

"We're hoping that if people can actually see how this can really impact on a personal level and tell our story to help people change, then there's only good that can come from this [interview], as far as I'm concerned," Nicola said.

Karla Lake, 75, Caboolture.

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Graeme and Karla Lake. Image: Facebook.

On March 29, 75-year-old Karla Rose Lake died in Caboolture Hospital north of Brisbane, after being infected with COVID-19 on the Ruby Princess.

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She and her husband Graeme Lake, who also fell ill, had been on more than 20 cruises together, but this one was a celebration of Lake's 75th birthday.

"This cruise has ruined us," a devastated Graeme told 7:30.

"It broke me. It's broke the kids. The grandkids. She didn't deserve it. She went on a cruise for her birthday... it's really, really devastated me. Even now I am still struggling," he told the program.

Graeme told 7News his wife was "just the loveliest person you could ever have married".

"She was an angel. She used to do work for Vietnam veterans in Hervey Bay.

"She would have done anything for everyone."

Des Williams, 85, Toowoomba.

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Dev Williams with wife Bev. Image: 7News.

85-year-old Darling Downs man Des Williams died overnight on April 2 in Toowoomba, becoming the third person in Queensland to pass away.

He had been a passenger on the Ruby Princess cruise ship.

His family described the retired minister as a loving grandfather.

"Des was a beautiful man who saw the best in every person and gave so much of his time to each and every one of us," family member Jacqui Blackburn posted on Facebook.

"The news are reporting that an elderly man passed away, but while Des was 85, he had the health and strength of a 75-year-old. I wish they wouldn’t say he was elderly because he was nothing like that. He would spend most of his days in the garden tending to his plants and his garden."

His stepson Craig Blackburn remembered Williams as a busy man with lots of hobbies.

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"He liked watching his cricket, liked watching his footy when that was on," Blackburn told the ABC.

"Loved his gardening. Had a whole heap of orchids at one stage, and now he was getting into succulents. He'd just finished building a greenhouse.

"He hadn't done it for a while but he was very handy in making woodwork as well, making tables and other sorts of stuff.

"So he loved his tools, his power tools. We always talked about what power tools each other had bought."

He said his stepfather's death would leave a big hole in his families lives, and he was sad his young sons, aged four and six, would grow up without their grandfather.

"They won't realise it yet [but] they'll be losing future direction and guidance from a lovely person who would have looked after them when he needed to."

Marion Scott, 82, Melbourne.

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Marion Scott with daughter Marlene Stevenson. Image: 7News.

Marion Scott died at the Frankston Hospital near Melbourne on April 7.

She was Victoria's 12th casualty, but also so much more than that.

"Mum wasn't number 12, mum was our mum, the grandmother, great grandmother, and her name was Marion and she was loved so much," her daughter Marlene Stevenson told 7News.

Scott had got to Frankston for a hip scan, and returned to hospital 10 days later with severe COVID-19 symptoms.

As they gathered to say goodbye, Scott's family were required to wear full protective gear.

"It's just cold, you know? Nothing is normal about it," Stevenson said.

Mike Saclier, 82, Canberra.

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Image: Facebook/Ged Kearney.
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MP Ged Kearney's father-in-law Mike Saclier was the 30th person in Australia to die from coronavirus.

Kearney shared a tribute to Mike on social media who died in Canberra Hospital on April 4.

"Today I read in the news that Australia has recorded its 30th death from coronavirus," she wrote on Facebook.

"Oh you might say, '30 is ok compared to other countries' or you might say '30 is getting up there' or you might just look at it see a number and not think much at all, because you are just going about your daily isolation activities.

"But please, don't let these figures just become nameless statistics to you. You see that 30th person was Mike, my father in law. My partner Leigh's much loved and loving father. He was 82 years old, and had done his best to isolate. In fact I believe he only went outside a couple of times in the whole month to shop.

"He became ill quite suddenly, was admitted to hospital and 7 days later he died."

Kearney thanked Australians for doing the right thing by staying at home but reminded everyone not to become immune to the statistics.

Saclier's son Rod told the ABC he was still "not really sure how to deal with it" a month after his father's death.

Saclier and his wife Wendy spent more than 50 years together. Meeting him "changed my life," Wendy said.

Saclier's memorial service happened via Zoom on their 53rd wedding anniversary.

Sumith Premachandra, 55, Victoria.

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Sumith Premachandra. Image: Facebook.
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On April 5, nurse and father-of-two Sumith Premachandra died at Dandenong Hospital at the age of 55.

His daughter, Sharyn, shared a heartfelt tribute with 9News, saying her dad will be dearly missed.

"He was on the frontline as healthcare worker, as a disability nurse and he loved his work," she said.

"He leaves behind a beautiful wife, a beautiful ex-wife, two loving daughters, two devoted sons-in-law and two gorgeous grandsons.

"Our lives will never be the same."

Francesco Ferraro, 75, Adelaide.

South Australia recorded its first death from COVID–19 after 75-year-old Francesco 'Frank' Ferraro died at the Royal Adelaide Hospital on April 6.

He was being treated in the intensive care unit after acquiring the virus while interstate.

Ferraro's family released a statement via SA Health on Tuesday, describing his as a "loving husband and father to three children and grandfather to eight".

"Soon after returning from an interstate family event in March 2020 he felt unwell and learnt he had contracted the COVID-19 virus," the statement read.

"He was soon admitted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital where his condition deteriorated.

"Despite the best efforts of the medical professionals and staff and the love and support of his family he passed away on Monday, April 6 2020.

"The family would like to take this opportunity to implore all South Australians to abide by and comply with all the advice and directions given by the government and police."

Bill Bracken, 80, Tasmania.

Bill Bracken, a passenger on the Ruby Princess, was admitted to hospital on March 26. After nine days on a ventillator with no improvement, his family made the heartbreaking decision to turn the machine off.

"We are told by the hospital that there were three nurses with my father when he passed away," his daughter Karen Hay told The Examiner. "They were very kindly holding his hand which we are all so very grateful for."

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Her mother Barbara Bracken had also tested positive for COVID-19 and was in isolation.

"She is simply amazing," Hay said of her mother. "She is strong, determined, driven and has the most amazing strength that I have ever witnessed. To lose your husband of almost 58 years, remain in isolation since Thursday March 19, and not be able to see your husband prior to (him) being put on a ventilator I would describe as absolutely heartbreaking."

Hay told the ABC her father was a "fair but firm man".

"My dad was a fair but firm man," daughter Karen Hay said.

"He was an extremely funny man; not everyone was privileged to see that side of him. If he allowed you to see this side of him, it was something that you would remember forever."

Giuseppe Franzoni, 84, Melbourne.

Giuseppe Franzoni, 84, died at the Sunshine Hospital on April 17.

His son Frank Franzoni told The Age Franzoni, a father of three and grandfather of six, was "larger than life" and it was devastating to watch him take his last breath via a video call.

"It was horrible, it was the most traumatic moment not being there," daughter-in-law Patricia Franzoni told the Herald Sun.

"It will be something we will have to live with for the rest of our lives. It is not something he would've wanted, he wanted his children there as he died.

Franzoni is remembered as a man who loved life and his family deeply.

"He loved his family and would travel to the end of the world for them, but he expected the same in return," son Frank said.

''He loved his family, sports, and Australia."

Along with the faces above, 89 others have lost their lives around Australia after contracting COVID-19.

As of May 20, Australia has had a total of 7079 cases. Of these, nearly 700 cases have been linked to the Ruby Princess cruise ship.

The Newmarch House aged care facility cluster in Western Sydney is the second largest cluster; sadly 19 residents have died.

At another Sydney aged care facility, the Dorothy Henderson Lodge, seven residents have died.

To protect yourself and the community from COVID-19, keep at least 1.5 metres away from other people, regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face.

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000. 

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

Read more on COVID-19

Feature images: Facebook and 7News.

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