Billionaire Richard Branson posted an emotional tribute to his mother, Eve, who died after fighting coronavirus. She was 96.
"I'm sorry to share that, sadly like a lot of people's friends and relatives right now in these days of Covid, my mum Eve has also passed away," the Virgin Galactic billionaire posted on Instagram Monday.
"Rather than mourn her loss, I wanted to celebrate her wonderful life, her tremendous spirit, the joy she brought to so many, and the love she gave us," he added.
In a blog post headlined "Celebrating My Mum, Eve Branson," Branson added that his mother — who served with Britain's Royal Navy during World War II and was the "force of nature" behind his business career — died after battling COVID-19.
"She held on for one last victory, managing to fight off the virus, but had expended all of her energy in the process," Branson wrote. "One of my wonderful sisters, Vanessa, and nephew Louis were with her until the end, as were the wonderful nurses who she entertained with tales from her life and much laughter over glasses of whisky. Rather than mourn her loss, I want to celebrate her wonderful life, her tremendous spirit, the joy she brought to so many, and the love she gave us all."
The business magnate, 70, continued, "It is no exaggeration to say I owe my career to mum. One day in the late Sixties mum saw a necklace lying on the road near Shamley Green and took it to the police station. After three months nobody had claimed it so the police told her she could keep it. She came up to London, sold the necklace and gave me the money. Without that £100, I could never have started Virgin. We were so sad to lose dad back in 2011, but mum did exactly as he would have wished by continuing to grab life with both hands."
Branson first revealed that his mother had tested positive for COVID last week when he posted that the family initially "feared the worst" because of her underlying health issues.
She had also been due to receive a vaccine the day after she tested positive.
While Eve later tested negative for COVID-19, she was tragically left severely weakened from the battle.
"It was with hearts full of love that, over the weekend, we said goodbye for the last time to our amazing Granny Eve," Branson's daughter, Holly, who is chair of the Virgin Foundation, added her own Instagram tribute on Monday.
"Recently diagnosed with Covid-19 Granny, at 96 years old, managed to battle the virus and test negative a few days ago," Holly wrote. "Unfortunately, like hundreds of thousands of people the world over, the strength it took to fight this unforgiving virus weakened Granny and she died peacefully in her bed on Friday."
Branson's son, Sam, added his own tribute to the family "matriarch" — who learned French at the grand age of 92 — while also expressing his hope that good things may one day come out of the tragedy that is hurting so many people around the globe.
"In a way I feel like she wanted to go out on her own terms. Just as she lived in her life," said Sam, 36.
"Am sending my biggest love to of all of you who have also lost loved ones at this time," Sam wrote. "My hope is that our losses help us forge even deeper relationships with those we still have around us x."
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