First picture of 'perfect' boy, 9, thought to be 'youngest to die' from latest flu outbreak

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Little Coby is believed to be the youngest to die from the latest flu outbreak (SWNS)

This is the first picture of the little boy who is thought to be the youngest person to die in the latest outbreak of flu in the UK.

Heartbroken parents Jamie Chrichard and Louise Simons have paid tribute to their nine-year-old son Coby, who died just 48 hours after coming down with the virus.

They are now preparing to bury their son while still not knowing exactly why their healthy and happy “special little man” died.

A post mortem examination has confirmed Coby had type B flu virus and streptococcus pneumoniae, a common cause of pneumonia.

The number of people to have died after contracting flu in the UK this winter is the highest in decades – and currently stands at over 200.

However, Louise said it could be up to 12 weeks before Coby’s cause of death is confirmed.

The family, from Exeter, Devon, say they are living every parent’s worst nightmare and have paid tribute to their “perfect” boy who passed away on January 24, at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.

The nine-year-old had type B flu virus and streptococcus pneumoniae, a common cause of pneumonia (SWNS)

Coby, who was rarely ill, first complained of not feeling well six days before his death.

He later started displaying some of the symptoms associated with type B flu and passed away after a very rapid two day deterioration in hospital.

His parents say they rushed him to A&E after he had spent the day feeling sleepy and achey, before developing puffy eyes.

Mum Louise, 29, has paid tribute to their “good as gold” only child, and has spoken out to warn other parents about the symptoms of the killer bug.

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She said: “It’s like being in a bad dream – it doesn’t feel real. It’s still such a shock. He would have been ten in two months’ time.

“He never gets ill. He probably gets poorly once a year if that. We want people to be aware of what happened to our son and to know the symptoms to look out for.”

Louise, a catering supervisor at Killerton in Broadclyst, near Exeter, said the first indications of him being poorly were on Thursday, January 18, when he complained of not feeling well.

He then took the next day off school, and although he seemed tired and quieter over the weekend, he did not show any further symptoms until Monday.

Coby’s family say they are living every parent’s worst nightmare and have paid tribute to their “perfect” boy (SWNS)

She described taking him to see his GP on the Monday as he had been sleepy and achy.

And when he woke up later that afternoon from a nap, he had developed puffy eyes and when his skin was pressed it remained white for a long time.

She took him to A&E at around 8pm and was later sent home and told to give him Calpol and Ibuprofen, after being diagnosed as suffering from flu symptoms.

However, Louise rushed Coby back to A&E on Tuesday evening when he took a turn for the worse.

She added: “He kept saying he was dizzy and a doctor said they could hear crackling on one side of his lung.

“Everything spiralled so quickly after that. I’m not sure what time they tested for flu B but it came back positive…

“He deteriorated very, very fast.”

Coby passed away on Wednesday at 3.25am with his parents by his side.

Louise said: “He was just such a lovely boy. He was absolutely perfect; I wouldn’t have changed anything about him, not even when he was in a bad mood.”