Doris Hobday, one of Britain’s oldest identical twins, has died from coronavirus.
The 96-year-old and her sister Lillian Cox, who delighted viewers with a series of hilarious TV appearances, both contracted COVID-19 earlier this month.
The duo, dubbed the Tipton Twins, made headlines last year when they had Piers and co-host and Susanna Reid in stitches during their appearance on Good Morning Britain, when they revealed the secret to a long life was “plenty of sex”.
In a Facebook post on 4 January, Lillian and Doris revealed they had contacted coronavirus despite “sticking to the rules” and spending most of their time indoors.
But while Lillian has since recovered from the virus, the family confirmed in a Facebook update that Doris had passed away on 5 January, following a short stay in hospital.
The sad news of Hobday’s death was also announced with a family statement read out on GMB on Wednesday 20 January.
The family said: “We are aware they are both 96-years-old and we have been so lucky to have them in our lives for such a long time. But they were both still going strong before this virus got them and both were determined to live until 100.
“They had so much to live for. It’s just so cruel that COVID has stopped Doris like this.
“Our thoughts go out to all the families who have experienced a loss through COVID and we urge people to take this seriously.
“Doris was only a few weeks away from being safe! With her vaccine letter arriving two days after her death. If you are offered the vaccine, please take it, do not refuse it. Doris didn’t get this choice.”
Following news of her death, GMB presenter Piers Morgan paid a touching tribute to Hobday on air this morning.
“What a wonderful lady, who led a wonderful life and kept up that extraordinary personality and enthusiasm and zest for life right til the end,” he said.
“But listen to what the family said. Just a few weeks away from being vaccinated, but sadly for Doris it was too late.
“Grateful Lil is still with us. All our hearts go out to you and to your family and we’re so glad you managed to come through this and we wish you all the very best with your recuperation.”
Watch: Britain’s oldest twins joke ‘plenty of good sex’ is key to long life
In the statement shared to Facebook the family confirmed that following a two week stay in hospital Cox was discharged from hospital on Monday 18 January and told of her sister’s death “once she was strong enough to take the news”.
“She is now being comforted by family and staying with her daughter Vivien while she fully regains her strength,” the statement adds.
In Hobday’s memory the family have set up a funding page to raise money for the Beacon Centre, a charity close to her heart.
RIP Doris Hobday, 96.
One of Britain’s two oldest twins & a delightful lady.
She died from coronavirus.
Her sister Lil got covid too but survived and is now home from hospital. My deepest condolences to her on the loss of her beloved sister. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/VwRy0XUsdU
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 20, 2021
At the beginning of the year, the twins announced their surprise at contracting coronavirus after staying inside for most of 2020 and sticking to all the rules.
“We are both in shock... we have been inside for most of 2020 sticking to all the rules and being careful, now this has happened and we can’t work out why or where we’ve picked it up from,” they posted.
“We are writing this hoping we can save people from getting this horrible virus, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take this seriously- Covid is real and it’s affecting so many lives across the world... don’t let it affect yours or your families.
“We have said in the past if Him up there wants us.... He’s going to have to run fast. We are running faster than ever because we both aren’t ready yet... we still haven’t met Jason Statham.”
'What is the secret of living so long?'
95-year-old identical twins Lil and Doris gave @Piersmorgan the MOST unexpected answer to the secret to long life😬
... @susannareid100's reaction says it all😳😳😳 pic.twitter.com/r863Ci2FGM
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) May 19, 2020
The twins won the nation’s hearts with their cheeky sense of humour during an appearance on GMB in 2020, particularly when host Piers Morgan brought up Cox’s crush on actor Jason Statham.
“One night with him and I’d die happy,” she joked, causing co-host Susanna Reid to shriek.
And when Morgan asked the sisters what the secret to long life is, Cox pointed at her sister and suggested: “Plenty of sex, Piers!”
The host then went on to ask for their thoughts on a potential romance with Colonel Tom Moore, 100, the army major, who found huge fame by raising money for the NHS by walking around his garden.
But Cox wasn’t impressed telling the presenters: “I want bloody thrilling, not killing,” as the studio collapsed in giggles.
Back in 2019, the twins also revealed the secrets to a long and happy life involved eating raw sausage sandwiches, drinking a pint of Guinness and conversely, abstaining from sex.
The sisters appeared on the This Morning sofa to discuss their habits with television hosts Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.
When quizzed on how they still look so great, Cox simply declared: “No sex and plenty of Guinness.”
The duo became social media sensations after joining Facebook and amassing a cult following.
RIP Doris. Our thoughts are with the family and friends.