A Ukrainian fitness influencer who told his followers COVID-19 didn't exist dies after contracting the virus

Darcy Schild
·3 min read
medical face mask covid
A disposable face masks is seen lying on the pavement in Krakow, Poland, on October 16th, 2020. Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • Dmitriy Stuzhuk, a fitness influencer from Ukraine, died at age 33 after suffering complications from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to Sky News.

  • His ex-wife, Sofia Stuzhuk, confirmed his death in an Instagram post on Saturday.

  • Stuzhuk had previously told his followers that he didn't think COVID-19 existed until he was diagnosed with it.

  • The influencer shared an Instagram post on Thursday, writing in Russian (translated to English): "I want to share how I got sick and to strongly warn everyone. I was one who thought that COVID does not exist...until I got sick."

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Dmitriy Stuzhuk, a fitness influencer from Ukraine, died at age 33 due to complications from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, his ex-wife, Sofia Stuzhuk, confirmed in an Instagram post on Saturday.

Sofia wrote in Russian, which has been translated to English: "Only warm memories remain, three beautiful kids and valuable experience." 

According to Sky News, Dmitriy tested positive for COVID-19 following a recent trip to Turkey, and he was taken to the hospital upon returning to Ukraine.

The Ukrainian social-media star was discharged from the hospital after eight days but was rushed back to the facility, as he was suffering from heart complications caused by the disease, Sky News reported.

Stuzhuk's ex-wife, Sofia, wrote on Instagram that her ex-husband was in a "grave condition" and "unconscious" upon his return to the hospital after previously being discharged, according to Sky News.

Stuzhuk kept an Instagram log of the days following his COVID-19 diagnosis, in which he warned his 1.1 million followers on the platform of the disease. The influencer, who shared posts related to health, nutrition, and exercise, said that he previously thought that COVID-19 did not exist.

On Thursday, which he said was "Day 8" following his positive COVID-19 test, he shared a picture on Instagram wearing an oxygen apparatus. He wrote in Russian, translated to English: "I want to share how I got sick and to strongly warn everyone. I was one who thought that COVID does not exist...until I got sick."

"COVID-19 IS NOT A SHORT-LIVED DISEASE," Stuzhuk continued in his post from Thursday.

Just as COVID-19 continues to spread, so does online misinformation that downplays the threat of the disease, as well as conspiracy theories that claim the novel coronavirus pandemic was planned.

According to an April report from the Reuters Institute at Oxford University, politicians, celebrities, and influencers account for the majority of engagement with coronavirus falsehoods.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has led to 1,111,078 deaths worldwide, according to the most recent report from Johns Hopkins University's COVID-19 data.

Ukraine has reported 307,301 positive cases of COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The US has the highest number of reported positive cases — 8,111,125 — according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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