Dimitry Stuzhuk, an Instagram fitness influencer with over 1.1 million followers, died recently after a battle with complications of COVID-19. The 33-year-old social media star’s ex-wife, Sofia Stuzhuk, announced his death in a heartbreaking Instagram post Saturday. Stuzhuk insisted the coronavirus was a hoax and did not need to be taken seriously, but he tested positive for the virus after a recent trip to Turkey.
“I came to you as a little 19-year-old Sonechka, and left as an adult and independent Sofia Stuzhuk,” Sofia wrote in Russian on Instagram, alongside photos with the former couple’s three children. “Yes, we didn’t have a good relationship. Yes, there were many problems. But this relationship gave us so much.” Sofia said that although they were no longer together, Stuzhuk’s death “hurts me no less.” She went on to thank him for “everything, my important person, my main teacher, my guide, the father of my children. You are our guardian angel and your love will always protect our angels.”
Stuzhuk’s last Instagram post was published on Wednesday and included two photos from a hospital in his native Ukraine. After he came back from Turkey, he told his followers that he believed COVID-19 should be taken seriously. “I want to share how I got sick and to strongly warn everyone,” he wrote in one Instagram post, reports The Sun. “I was one who thought that Covid does not exist… Until I got sick,” he continued. “COVID-19 IS NOT A SHORT-LIVED DISEASE! And it is heavy.”
After eight days in a Kiev, Ukraine hospital, he was allowed to leave. This week, he was rushed back to the hospital though. Sofia said he was in “grave condition” and “unconscious” when he was re-admitted to the hospital. He had “problems with his cardiovascular system” and his heart was “not coping,” Sofia wrote. Doctors restarted his heart, but his condition was “extremely grave” just before he died. On Friday, she announced Stuzhuk’s death. “Dima is no longer with us,” she wrote. “His heart could not stand.”
Stuzhuk and Sofia split six months ago but were on better terms before his death. They are parents to three children, David, Lola, and Olivia, and their youngest is nine months old.
There are 39.5 million coronavirus cases around the world as of Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll has reached 1.1 million, with over 219,000 deaths reported in the U.S. alone. Turkey, where Stuzhuk said he contracted the virus, has over 345,000 confirmed cases and over 9,200 deaths.