British Airways cabin crew boss dies of coronavirus in a hospital bed alongside recovering PM

British Airways cabin crew boss dies of coronavirus in the hospital where Boris Johnson is recovering three weeks after flying from US to London as a passenger

  • Ian Johnson, a cabin service director in his 50s, was in St Thomas’ Hospital ICU
  • He was on a ventilator for ten days before he tragically passed away yesterday
  • Mr Johnson is thought to be the first BA staff member to die from the killer bug
  • The PM was admitted to St Thomas’ on Sunday but was up and about on Friday
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

By James Gant For Mailonline

Published: | Updated:

Tributes have poured in for a British Airways worker who died of the coronavirus where Prime Minister Boris Johnson is recovering in hospital.

Ian Johnson, a cabin service director in his late 50s, was in St Thomas’ intensive care unit on a ventilator for ten days before he passed away yesterday.

He flew from Nashville, Tennessee, to London as a passenger on March 17 and is believed to be the first BA staff member to die from the killer infection.

Ian Johnson (left and right), a cabin service director in his late 50s, was in St Thomas’ intensive care unit on a ventilator for ten days before he passed away yesterday

Mr Johnson, who worked for the airline for 35 years, has been lauded as a ‘bright light’ by co-workers who fear they may have the bug.

Melissa from London told MailOnline how Mr Johnson comforted her when she was flying from the New York to the UK after her mother died at Christmas.

She said: ‘I sent my daughter and husband back to London before me so I could get affairs in order. When I got on the plane, I couldn’t stop crying.

‘Ian was in charge of my cabin. The seat next to mine was empty and he held my hand for probably 20 minutes and told me stories to calm me down.

‘Then he snuck away and handed me a whole box of Cadbury’s chocolates and the nicest Champagne they had on board so that I could toast to my mum’s memory when I was ready.’

She added: ‘It’s a tragedy that such a wonderful human has been taken by this stupid pandemic.’

One colleague told crew according to the Sun: ‘It is with a very heavy heart I let the family know that another Angel has got his wings and gone to the room party.

‘Cabin service director Ian Johnson, aka, Shirley passed away yesterday due to covid-19.

mr Johnson (right) flew from Nashville, Tennessee, to London as a passenger on March 17 and is believed to be the first BA staff member to die from the killer infection

‘He had been on a ventilator and sadly did not make it, despite the wonderful care of the staff there.

‘Jokingly we called each other husband and wife, well Ian my heart is broken and your ”wife” will love you forever. Fly high darling.’ 

Mr Johnson had reportedly been talking about retirement just three weeks ago with one colleague.

The Prime Minister was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital, which is just over the Thames from the Houses of Parliament, on Sunday night.

The PM has been up and about as his recovery from coronavirus continues apace, Downing Street revealed.

The last time the Prime Minister was seen in person, and not on a Zoom call, was last week when he appeared on the doorstep of No 11 to clap for carers

He has been doing ‘short walks’, although No10 has stressed that he is still having to rest.

It is the latest major sign of improvement after Mr Johnson was discharged from intensive care last night.

A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘The Prime Minister has been able to do short walks, between periods of rest, as part of the care he is receiving to aid his recovery.

‘He has spoken to his doctors and thanks the whole clinical team for the incredible care he has received. His thoughts are with those affected by this terrible disease.’

A spokesman for British Airways said: ‘Our thoughts are with Ian’s family and friends at this sad time.’

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