Dad, 51, dies of Covid after ‘needlephobia’ scared him off getting the life-saving jab

Stewart Gilray, 51, from Aberdeen, Scotland, had a lifelong fear of needles which stopped him from getting vaccinated against coronavirus

Stewart Gilray was hospitalised with Covid on December 20
Stewart Gilray was hospitalised with Covid on December 20

A high-flying games developer and father-of-two died from Covid after a lifelong fear of needles meant he was too scared to get the vaccine.

Stewart Gilray, CEO of Just Add Water development company, died on Thursday, aged 51, after contracting coronavirus in mid-December.

His devastated wife Bec Gilray, 41, is now pleading with people to overcome their fear of needles to avoid putting their lives at risk.

Tributes poured in for Mr Gilray, of Aberdeen, Scotland, who leaves behind son Elliot, 15, and three-year-old daughter Darcey.

The Scot was held in high regard for his decades-long career in the video game industry with tributes pouring in from some of its best-known figures including Doom creator John Romero, reports the Daily Record.

Stewart Gilray was hospitalised with Covid on December 20


Daily Record)

Mr Gilray and his wife Bec, 41


Daily Record)

Mrs Gilray said: “Stewart had a serious fear of needles. In all seriousness, in 25 years he had one blood test.

“He was fit. He could have lost a stone or two like the rest of us but he genuinely believed he was going to survive this virus because he was healthy.

“Before he was intubated he said to me ‘there’s nothing to worry about. I’m going to be fine. I just need a little rest.'”

Mr Gilray, who helped revitalise the Oddworld series, a video game adaption of Doctor Who and Sniper Elite VR, went into hospital with low oxygen levels.

The dad-of-two posted a photo of a cannula in his hand and went from using an oxygen mask to being put on a ventilator.

He wrote: “I’m not doing that great. The amount of oxygen they have me on to keep me over the magic 95% is the maximum.

“For those that know me well enough know I hate needles. This picture shows what I’m going through right now to fight this.”

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When Mr Gilray was first admitted, the virus seized upon a previously undiagnosed lung condition that scarred his lungs and robbed him of his ability to breathe on his own.

His condition rapidly declined as Covid took hold and he was eventually put into an induced coma.

Mrs Gilray said doctors told her that his lung condition may have affected his chances of survival and she is pleading with others to get vaccinated in spite of any fears they have.

“I would not wish this on anyone, it’s horrendous,” she said.

“Stewart was the most generous person and had no qualms about helping anybody.

“He was dedicated to our kids, he loved his life, he loved what we had and what he built in his business.

“He wanted to retire early and spend more time with us, to be with the kids more. He had all these plans and Covid got him. Please, just get vaccinated.”

Mr Gilray picked up qualifications from the Aberdeen College of Commerce in the late 80s and went on to work as a freelance games programmer for big 90s names including Psygnosis ltd, Bullfrog and Argonaut.

He then moved to Didcot to work for publisher 21st Century Entertainment and met Mrs Gilray who worked at a Chinese takeaway.

Mrs Gilray said the pair never spent more than a few days apart in their 25-year partnership.

In one of his final posts on social media, Mr Gilray wrote: “Well, for those that don’t know yet, early last week I, and the rest of the family, tested positive for the old Covid.

“The kids have been fine for the most part but Bec and I have been hit the most, although judging from her own post on this subject she says I have and tbh she’s likely not wrong.”

His heartbreaking post was accompanied with a photo of him hooked up to an oxygen mask.

Paying tribute on Twitter, friend fellow developer Romero said: “It’s hard to believe he’s gone.

“Stewart Gilray was a good friend and always there whenever anyone needed him, including me.

“He was one of the good ones. I’m grateful for our friendship and thinking of his wife Bec, kids and many friends he’s left behind.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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