Coronavirus: Teenage victim Luca Di Nicola was 'very healthy' – family says

Tania Snuggs, news reporter
Lucca di Nicola

The family of Luca Di Nicola, who died after testing positive for coronavirus, have paid tribute to the "very healthy" teenager.

The NHS has said the 19-year-old did not have underlying health conditions.

Luca, an assistant chef from Italy, died in London after testing positive for COVID-19.

It is understood he was "very healthy", and was from Nereto in central Italy.

He was taken by ambulance to the North Middlesex Hospital in Enfield, north London, last Tuesday - but died 30 minutes later, from apparent fulminant pneumonia.

It comes after an apparently healthy 13-year-old boy from south London became the youngest UK victim of coronavirus.

Luca's father, Mirko, told La Repubblica that his son had contracted the virus, and that the family received an email from British medical authorities saying a post-mortem swab had confirmed that.

It is believed the coroner has not officially confirmed it.

But other members of the di Nicola family are reported to have said they received an email from the London hospital on Monday night, and then a phone call from the coroner.

Luca's brother, Davide Di Nicola, has paid tribute to his sibling on his Instagram, saying "I love you brother".

He said: "We both grew and matured and you, surely more mature than me, had the courage and the desire to bring new goals.

"Cooking, your greatest passion would have taken you far.

"This Carnival photo represents one of the few hangovers taken together, I drank a little to tell the truth but I had a lot of fun staring at you and holding you.

"I would have liked to spend so many other days and evenings with you and I swear that I will take you with me every day, on every occasion, every time I take the field.

"I will try to express some of your wishes and fulfil part of your dreams, it will be like doing it together also because you are here with me and you will always be. I send you a hug up there, to that starred restaurant.

"I love you my brother!".

Luca was unwell for a week before he died, according to the newspaper, and claimed that his GP had given him some paracetamol and said he was "young, strong", and that "he did not have to worry about that bad flu".

But on Tuesday, it is reported, that he had "chest pains", and collapsed shortly afterwards.

His aunt Giada said: "They called the ambulance, revived him but his lungs collapsed, full of water and blood.

"They intubated him and immediately hospitalised him in intensive care at North Middlesex Hospital in London.

"But after half an hour, around 7pm, Luca died."

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Luca's mother and her partner are reported to have the same symptoms, and following his death, have been advised to self-isolate for two weeks.

On Tuesday, it was confirmed another 393 people have died after contracting coronavirus - taking the UK total to 1,808, which is a sharp rise from yesterday's increase of 180.

The government has said there are now 25,150 confirmed cases in the UK.