Priest brought back to Spain after contracting Ebola dies in Madrid

Spaniard Miguel Pajares, 75, had been being treated with experimental ZMapp serum

Miguel Pajares is brought back to Spain.
Miguel Pajares is brought back to Spain.INAKI GOMEZ (AFP)

The Spanish priest suffering from Ebola who was brought back from Liberia to receive treatment in a Madrid hospital last week has died.

Seventy-five-year-old Miguel Pajares passed away at 9.28am at the capital’s Carlos III Hospital as a result of the virus, sources at La Paz Hospital, of which Carlos III is a branch, have confirmed to EL PAÍS.

His body was taken from the hospital just before 2pm in a sealed coffin to be incinerated at La Paz Hospital crematorium on the outskirts of the capital.

Although family members had said the priest had been in a stable condition since his arrival in Madrid, his state deteriorated in the early hours of Tuesday morning and he suffered respiratory arrest. In a public statement the hospital said the cause of his death had been “complications resulting from the illness caused by the Ebola virus.”

Two of his colleagues have also died of the disease in recent days in Liberia

“We are grief-stricken,” said the priest’s nephew Javier Pajares, who has acted as a spokesman for the family. “The important thing is that the news has served to show what is going on in Africa and the important thing is that Miguel’s message remains, that the mission he carried out is recorded.”

Pajares, who was infected with the virus while working in a hospital in the Liberian capital of Monrovia, had for the last few days been treated with the experimental serum ZMapp, which two Ebola sufferers repatriated to the United States had also received.

Two of his colleagues back in Liberia, George Combey and Chantal Pascaline, have also died in recent days of the disease, whose spread is out of control in western Africa.

Pajares, who belonged to the San Juan de Dios religious order, contracted ebola after taking care of and feeding the director of the hospital in Monrovia, who died on Saturday from the virus.

The king and queen, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía offer their condolences over the death of Miguel Pajares”

He had been brought back to Spain in a weak and feverish state aboard a military Airbus 310 last Thursday with colleague Juliana Bohi, a Spanish nun who continues to show no symptoms of Ebola infection. A medical team was waiting to take him to the Carlos III Hospital where he remained in a special isolated unit until his death.

Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia used Twitter to express their sympathy over Pajares’ passing: “The king and queen, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía offer their condolences over the death of Miguel Pajares,” read a message posted on the Spanish Royal Household’s official feed (@CasaReal).

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy also sent a message of sympathy via Twitter: “My most heartfelt condolences to the family and colleagues of Miguel Pajares,” he wrote.

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