Dmitriy Stuzhuk [Photo: Courtesy]

A fitness coach and social media influencer "who thought Covid does not exist" has died after contracting coronavirus on a trip to Turkey. Dmitriy Stuzhuk, aged just 33, had been discharged from hospital in his native Ukraine but was rushed back just hours later and his condition rapidly deteriorated.

After becoming ill, he wrote to his fans: “I want to share how I got sick and to strongly warn everyone. “I was one who thought that Covid does not exist. Until I got sick.” He told them: “Covid-19 is not a short-lived disease! And it is heavy.”  To his one million followers on social media, he appeared to be in perfect health as he promoted sports and healthy living. 

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But his ex-wife and mother of his three children, Sofia Stuzhuk, 25, who announced his death, said Covid-19 had triggered heart complications. Dmitriy had woken in Turkey with a swollen neck and breathing difficulties, he said in an earlier post to his fans. Back in Ukraine, he was tested positive and hospitalised.

“The hospital is completely filled with people, some of them being treated in corridors,” he posted. He showed how he needed an oxygen apparatus for breathing. After eight days he was permitted to leave his ward rather than remain in an overcrowded Kyiv hospital. He said: “At home, as they say, the walls heal - my condition is stable.”

But after a few hours, he was rushed back to the hospital where Sofia said he was soon in a “grave condition” and “unconscious”. Sofia, who has five million followers, wrote online as he struggled for life: “Dima (Dmitriy) had problems with his cardiovascular system. His heart is not coping." He suffered clinical death but medics restarted his heart. Sofia added: “His state is extremely grave. No-one can do anything with this. I did everything I could so the father of my three children lives. But nothing depends on me now."

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Then “heartbroken” Sofia announced his death. The couple had three children - David, Lola and Olivia. The youngest is just nine months old. They split six months ago after she complained of “constant betrayal, cursing, showdown and stress” but recently said they were back on good terms. She wrote: “Only warm memories remain, three beautiful kids and valuable experience. God, it is so terrible to realise that he is not with us anymore..."