Three members of the same family have died within weeks of each other after contracting coronavirus.
Keith Dunnington, 54, a nurse for more than 30 years, died at his parents home in South Shields on 19 April.
His mother Lillian, 81, died on 1 May and her husband Maurice, 85, died days later at South Tyneside Hospital.
Keith’s cousin Debbie Harvey said her family was heartbroken but praised the “absolutely amazing” NHS staff who “could not do enough” for the family.
She said front-line hospital staff pushed Mr and Mrs Dunnington’s beds together so they could hold hands.
Dad-of-two Keith, who passed away last month, worked at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead.
Yvonne Ormston MBE, chief executive of Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, said he was “a popular and hard-working” nurse.
Mrs Harvey said the funeral of all three would be held later this month.
“I’m still in disbelief, Keith’s children are absolutely devastated and then to lose their nanny and granddad as well. Keith gave 200% to everything he did,” she said.
“He looked after people so well and stood up for them. My children are also absolutely heartbroken.
“Lillian was always ready with a wise word and a cuppa if we needed a shoulder to cry on. She was the strongest woman I’ve ever known.”
Mrs Harvey said Maurice was well-known in South Shields after working for Stagecoach both on the buses and at the depot.
She said the “larger than life character” was also a devoted supporter of the British Legion.
“The hospital staff were absolutely amazing,” Mrs Harvey said.
“The staff could not do enough for them and when they realised that my aunty was slipping away they pushed their beds together so that they could hold each other’s hand.
“My auntie just slipped away peacefully holding my uncle’s hand and listening to their favourite songs on their phones.”