Updated 9.05pm, adds funeral details
Popular Qormi mayor Renald Falzon has died of COVID-19, becoming Malta’s youngest patient to succumb to the virus at the age of 46.
His death comes just weeks after his father died, also with the virus that has claimed the lives of more than 90 people in Malta.
Falzon had been receiving treatment at Mater Dei’s ITU for weeks, after contracting the virus in October. It was when he was in intensive care, that his father died.
The health authorities have yet to announce the death and it is understood the father-of-three had other health conditions.
On October 12, in what would become his final social media post, the Labour councillor apologised for having to limit his work for health reasons.
“Once my health is back on track, I will continue working for our town,” he wrote. The post was flooded with people wishing him a speedy recovery.
As news of the death spread, tributes from friends, constituents and other politicians started pouring in.
In a post on Facebook, the Qormi Local Council announced the death, saying it was grateful for everything the mayor had done for the locality.
In another post later, it said Falzon's funeral is on Saturday and gave details of the event.
In the weeks before his death, several Qormi associations expressed their well-wishes, urging the beloved Labour mayor to “stay strong” and “keep fighting”.
Those who knew him have described Falzon as a hard-working and outgoing man who always put the community of Qormi first. He was also known to be hands-on and would often go out of his way to help people, even if the issue was not within his remit.
He was first elected to the council in 2015, becoming mayor four years later.
In a statement, the Labour Party expressed condolences and described him as "an example to many". Condolences were also expressed by the Nationalist Party and the Association of Local Councils.