William Shakespeare dies: First man in the world to receive Covid vaccine dies aged 81 of unrelated illness

 THE first man in the world to receive a Covid vaccine has died aged 81.

William Shakespeare - known as Bill - received his first Pfizer jab in December, but passed away from an unrelated illness on Thursday.

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William Shakespeare - the first man in the world to receive a Covid vaccine - has died aged 81
William Shakespeare - the first man in the world to receive a Covid vaccine - has died aged 81Credit: PA

The pensioner made history when he was given the vaccine at University Hospital Coventry, shortly after 91-year-old Margaret Keenan.

It marked a turning point in the fight against coronavirus and the start of the biggest vaccination programme in history.

Following his jab, Mr Shakespeare said: "Groundbreaking, I think, isn't it?

"It could make the difference to our lives from now on. It’s the start of changing our lives and our lifestyle."

He added he had been spending lockdown with his wife, and the pair had been "virtually locked down" the entire time - apart from a few trips to the local shops on his wife's part, but he hasn't been penning any plays like his namesake.

A close pal of Mr Shakespeare's has paid tribute to him as a “thoroughly lovely man” following his death last week, at the age of 81.

Coventry councillor Jayne Innes said: “He had an underlying health condition which he sadly passed away from in hospital on Thursday.

“It was no relation to him having had the jab as some people on social media are suggesting."

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Innes said: “His condition had worsened and he couldn't enjoy the full benefits of the jab he had felt so passionately about.

“I’m greatly saddened and upset that our dear friend, the very lovely Bill Shakespeare, has passed away."

She said the ex Rolls Royce worker and parish councillor would be “missed by many,” saying: “He was a thoroughly lovely man and a good guy to go to the pub with.”

She said that Bill from Coventry was “very proud to be a Cov kid,” saying: “He will be remembered for many things. He was a Labour councillor, party activist, family man, school governor, very keen photographer and was passionate about the environment.

“He also had a taste for mischief!"

The family friend added that the "best tribute to Bill is to have the jab".

She had seen his widow Joy yesterday, and said the family was devastated by their loss. 

As well as wife Joy, Mr Shakespeare leaves his two adult sons and grandchildren.

West Midlands Labour paid tribute to party "stalwart" Bill, from Warwickshire.

The post on Twitter read: "We're sorry to hear of the death of Coventry Labour stalwart Bill Shakespeare.North

"His decades of service to the party were recently recognised by @Keir_Starmer.

"Our thoughts are with Joy and Bill's family & friends."

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