Captain Sir Tom Moore dies after battling COVID-19

UK war veteran Captain Sir Tom Moore has died after battling COVID-19, his family has announced.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our dear father, Captain Sir Tom Moore," his daughters said in a statement.

"The last year of our father's life was nothing short of remarkable. He was rejuvenated and experienced things he’d only ever dreamed of.

"Whilst he'd been in so many hearts for just a short time, he was an incredible father and grandfather, and he will stay alive in our hearts forever."

The daughters said they were grateful to be able to spend time with him in the last hours of his life.

Sir Tom came to prominence in 2020 when he raised money for frontline health staff by completing 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.

While his initial target was to raise £1000 (NZ$2095), he went on to raise over £32.7 million (NZ$62 million) and captured hearts around the world.

He also broke two Guinness world records, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, scored a No.1 single, wrote an autobiography and helped set up a charity.

On February 1, his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore announced he had been admitted to hospital after battling pneumonia and COVID-19.

"He was at home with us until today when he needed additional help with his breathing. He is being treated in a ward, although he is not in ICU (intensive care unit)," she said on Twitter at the time.

Messages of support had come in from prominent Brits including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization.

"I spoke to the family last night, and all I can say is Captain Tom Moore has been an inspiration to everybody in this country during this pandemic," Johnson told reporters during a visit to northern England. "Our thoughts and our prayers are now with him and with his family."

Dr Tedros wrote: "My thoughts are with @captaintommoore and his loving family and friends.

"You and the @NHSuk health professionals supporting you are true heroes and shining examples of the spirit needed to overcome #COVID19."

Broadcaster Piers Morgan called Sir Tom a "magnificent man".

"In our darkest hour since WW2, he rallied Britain with his resilience, courage and optimism.

"Let us all heed his mantra in our lives: 'Tomorrow will be a good day'. Thank you, Tom."

BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said on Twitter that 10 Downing St would lower the British flag to half mast in tribute.

The Royal Family Twitter account said the Queen is sending a private message of condolence to Sir Tom's family.