Sisters die of Covid-related illness within days of each other

Tragedy strikes Eastern Cape family

Bobby Jordan Senior reporter
Bridget Stander, 19, and her 27-year-old sister Samantha, died within a week of each other of Covid-19 related health complications.
Bridget Stander, 19, and her 27-year-old sister Samantha, died within a week of each other of Covid-19 related health complications.
Image: Union High School/Facebook

Two sisters aged 19 and 27 from the Eastern Cape have died within days of each other from Covid-19-related illnesses.

Bridget and Samantha Stander from Cradock near Port Elizabeth join a growing list of young adults to succumb to the disease.

News of their death was shared on Saturday by Union High School in Graaff Reinet, where Bridget matriculated in 2019.

“We write today [Saturday] with the very sad news that the Union community has lost a member of its class of 2019,” the high school said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“Bridget, who commenced her studies towards a BCom degree at the University of Stellenbosch at the start of 2020, was spending the December holidays with her family in her hometown of Cradock when she took ill.” 

She was hospitalised in Port Elizabeth where she was diagnosed with pneumonia, and died on January 2, just days after her older sister Samantha died of Covid-related complications.

The sisters both attended Stellenbosch University.

“What makes the news of her passing even more heart-wrenching is that Bridget’s death follows only days after that of her older sister Samantha, 27, who passed away on December 27, also as a result of Covid-19 related health complications,” said the school.

It described Bridget as a talented artist who had excelled academically. “All those who knew her will remember her for her incredible tenacity, sense of humour and sharp wit.”

Samantha’s former school Cradock High also posted a tribute to their former pupil. “Samantha will always be remembered as a hard and diligent worker who gave her best with a warm smile. She will be sorely missed,” the post said.

Last week the sisters’ surviving sibling, Ashleigh Stander, posted her own emotional message about the family’s tragic situation. At the time Bridget was still fighting for her life in hospital. “Our whole family is physically and emotionally shattered, with everything happening around us,” Ashleigh wrote.

While they were ill in Cradock, Samantha had shared an oxygen cylinder with Bridget, according to a report by Netwerk24 on December 29. However the older sister’s condition deteriorated and she died en route to hospital in Bloemfontein — the closest available hospital bed at the time.

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