'Strong' Joburg father dies of Covid-19 three days before he was due to get his vaccine

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Tyron Stoltz, his wife Michelle, and their two children, Reece (18) and Liam (8).
Tyron Stoltz, his wife Michelle, and their two children, Reece (18) and Liam (8).
  • A married father of two young boys died shortly before he could receive his first vaccination.
  • Covid-19 claimed his life after he suffered massive heart failure in hospital.
  • His sister pleaded with South Africans to get vaccinated before it was too late.

On 5 August, 46-year-old Tyron Stoltz from River Club in Johannesburg was supposed to receive his first Pfizer vaccination.

But three days earlier, Covid-19 claimed the life of the married father of two young boys after he suffered massive heart failure in hospital.

Now his sister, Kirsty Stoltz, is pleading with South Africans to get vaccinated before it's too late.

READ | SA estimates 220 000 excess deaths during pandemic - among worst in the world

"Ty is 46, overweight, strong – but with no comorbidities. He got sick before he could be vaccinated. He was taking ivermectin. It did not help him. It does not work. What does work, is being fully vaccinated with either the Pfizer or J&J vaccine," Kirsty wrote on her Facebook page a day before Tyron's wife, Michelle, called her with the dreaded news.

Tyron Stoltz
Tyron Stoltz.

"Once vaccinated, you might still get ill, but the vaccine will protect you from serious illness and death… If you choose to not get vaccinated, I would suggest you update your will and have a parenting plan in place, in case you get ill and don't make it."

The next day, Kirsty wrote on Facebook: "This morning, my sweet, kind and gentle brother passed away from heart failure."

Speaking to News24 about her IT whizz brother, "a regular bloke who loved everything new and everything tech", the fashion stylist tears up when she talks about her brother's love for his sons. 

Reece, 18, is currently in matric, while Liam is eight years old.

Tyron Stoltz
Tyron Stoltz and his son Reece.

"He was happy to live a life where he looks after his family. He loved animals and he loved his sons, he doted on them. Reece wants people to know how caring his father was and that he would help anyone."

When Covid-19 hit our shores in March last year, Tyron borrowed Kirsty's sewing machine to make masks for his family.

"We lived in our little bubble, I listened to science podcasts and felt less anxious because I knew the greatest minds in the world were working on developing a vaccine. Tyron was also incredibility interested in the virus."

She and her brother differed on the effectiveness of ivermectin.

READ | SA-born biotech billionaire Soon-Shiong sees his shot as universal vaccine booster

"He felt that it worked, but I disagreed with him on that. I felt if ivermectin worked, we would not have had a pandemic, but here we are 18 months later. I don't belittle his choices, because he felt if he could do anything to keep him safe, he would do it."

In mid-July, when the siblings could register to receive their vaccinations, Tyron and his wife, Michelle, tested positive for Covid-19.

He wanted to get the vaccine and still made an appointment, even though he was ill. We still debated about that.

After Kirsty got her jab, Tyron told her that he was "so glad that you are protected". 

He told her the virus "feels like it's eating me up inside".

On Saturday, 24 July, he was admitted to the Waterfall City Hospital in Midrand, with Covid pneumonia.

"On Sunday, 25 July, he messaged Michelle to say he was going into ICU to be intubated. She spoke to him and he asked her to look after their sons. That was the last time they spoke."

Tyron Stoltz and his wife Michelle
Tyron Stoltz and his wife Michelle.

After eight days in ICU, Tyron's condition improved - but, on Monday, 2 August, he died of heart failure.

"His body was riddled with blood clots.

"I really wanted him to come out of hospital. He showed massive improvement, I thought he was going to come out of this… I thought he was so strong that it wouldn't kill him."

Way out

Kirsty feels passionate that vaccines are the only way out of the pandemic.

"Science has shown that vaccines work. Healthcare workers have been saving lives for 18 months. I'm offended because now that there is a treatment that can save more people, people are not rushing to it. If you don't get vaccinated, I'm not sure what they can do to save you."

READ | Level 3: Cinemas, theatres, museums and casinos can operate again

Kirsty said she has been encouraged by the results out of the United States and the United Kingdom that the death rate of vaccinated people from Covid-19 has fallen dramatically.

Locally, specialists have reported that the third wave hit unvaccinated South Africans the hardest, with some ICUs not treating a single patient who had received the Covid-19 vaccine. 

"They (the US and UK) received the vaccine many months before us and none of them turned into zombies or are being tracked by whoever," Kirsty says, pleading with unvaccinated South Africans to "look at the bigger picture" and get their jabs. 

Tyron is survived by his wife, Michelle, sons, Reece and Liam, and sister, Kirsty. 

If you come across Covid-19 vaccination information that you do not trust, read Covid-19 vaccine myths debunked: Get the facts here. If you can't find the facts you're looking for, email us at the address mentioned in the article and we will verify the information with medical professionals.

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