Dmitriy Stuzhuk, a 33-year-old Ukrainian fitness influencer, died just days after sharing that he’d tested positive for COVID-19. On October 14, Stuzhuk took to Instagram to tell his 1.1 million followers that although he’d previously thought the virus was a hoax, he ended up contracting it on a trip to Turkey.
In his social media post, Stuzhuk revealed that he was hospitalized in Ukraine but that his condition was stable. That was his final post. On October 16, Stuzhuk’s ex-wife Sofia, who is also an influencer with over 5.2 million followers, posted on her Instagram that he had died.
According to Sky News, Stuzhuk was discharged from the hospital after an 8-day stay but then experienced heart problems after returning home. The outlet reported that he was rushed back to the hospital, with Sofia sharing that his condition was “grave” and he was “unconscious.”
She said Stuzhuk had “problems with his cardiovascular system… his heart is not coping. His state is extremely grave. No-one can do anything with this. I did everything I could so the father of my three children lives. But nothing depends on me now.”
Stuzhuk and Sofia, 25, separated six months ago and the two have three children together, with the youngest only nine months old.
Stuzhuk Wrote That He Didn’t Think He Had COVID-19 Since He Didn’t Have a Fever & Warned His Followers to Take the Virus Seriously
In his post from the hospital, Stuzhuk said it was his eighth day with COVID-19. He said, “I want to share how I got sick and strongly warn everyone. I also believed that COVID-19 did not exist, until I got sick. COVID-19 DISEASE IS NOT SHORT-LIVED! And it is heavy.” He said he began feeling under the weather on his second day in Turkey, with his first symptoms a swollen neck and difficulty breathing. He also had a bit of a stomach ache, he wrote.
He said the following day, he had a cough, but no fever. He said he didn’t think it was the virus since he didn’t have the well-known symptom of a fever. He wrote that he believed his symptoms could be a result of playing sports, a change in his environment and sleeping with the air conditioning on. He added that when he returned to Ukraine, he took various tests, including a COVID test “just in case” and obtained a positive result.
Stuzhuk also wrote about his treatment and the conditions in the hospital. He wrote that there are many problems in the hospital, including overcrowding and lack of food. He said he was given a breathing apparatus to supply him with additional oxygen and decided to continue his treatment at home since he felt he’d be more comfortable there given the hospital conditions.
Stuzhuk shared a couple of photos of himself in the hospital along with a more detailed text image telling his followers:
I realized that this virus itself is terrible and this is not a normal pneumonia. I want those who are skeptical to realize that this isn’t fictional and the virus is really scary. Everyone has it in a different form: some have mild symptoms, some have no symptoms and some have more severe symptoms. You never know how it can happen.
But in spite of everything I feel that the peak is already behind me and I will soon recover. Take care of yourselves, your loved ones, wear masks and wash your hands more often. This is really important now. Now, more than ever, life is valuable to me because I have three wonderful children.
His Ex-Wife Posted About His Passing & Added a Tribute to the Father of Her Children
Sofia Stuzhuk first posted about her ex-husband’s death on October 16, writing simply: “Dima is no longer with us” and that his heart had failed. She shared an image of them with their children on the beach at sunset. On October 17, she wrote a long post and a tribute to her ex-husband along with a series of photos of them as a couple and with their kids.
In her post, she wrote that she was only 19 when the two got together, and by the time their relationship ended six years later she had become more independent and stronger. She acknowledged that their relationship wasn’t perfect and had many issues, but that they experienced so much together and he taught her a lot. She said, “I will remain grateful to you for the rest of my life for our three beautiful children, for the invaluable experiences and for who I have become with you.”
She finished her post by saying, “We were no longer together, but it hurts me no less. I am so sorry … Thank you for everything, my important person, my main teacher, my guide, the father of my children. You are our guardian angel and your love will always protect our angels.”
Ukraine is experiencing an uptick in coronavirus cases in recent days, according to stats provided by John Hopkins University. The country now stands at 307,301 overall cases and 5,762 deaths as of the end of the day on October 18.