An Italian nurse in Spain who fought for the right of COVID-19 patients to say goodbye to their loved ones on digital media has died himself.
Father-of-two Massimo Colombi, originally from Italy, worked in the Regional Hospital of Malaga in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia.
He shot to prominence during the first lockdown in Spain after being horrified at the way people were dying without the chance of speaking to their loved ones.
He had worked in hospitals in the region for a decade, and when he saw what was going on, he started a project called ‘el derecho a decir adios’ (‘the right to say goodbye’).
The project involved patients being allowed to contact their relatives via video calls, and donations of electronic devices flooded in after it was launched.
The Malaga city council and the communications giant Vodafone donated five tablets, 15 smartphones, and data sim cards to be used in the intensive care unit of the hospital.
Two weeks ago, Colombi started a new campaign asking people to avoid ending up in hospital by being extra responsible at Christmas time.
It was not revealed what he died of and an autopsy has been ordered.
The labour union UGT, of which he was a member, described his loss as a “tragedy” and the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez commented on his passing, calling him “a great person who was known for his generosity, humanity, and love for his patients”.
Colombi was married and had two children.
When his death was announced, the staff at the regional hospital where he worked paid tribute by standing in line along the walls of the corridors that he once walked.