Published: 11:27, 03 April 2020
| Updated: 19:36, 03 April 2020
Family and friends have told of their heartache following the death of a courageous nurse who had been diagnosed with coronavirus.
Mum-of-three Aimee O'Rourke, 39, died yesterday at the QEQM Hospital in Margate, leaving behind three daughters, Megan, Mollie and Maddie.
Tributes pad to Aimee O'Rourke
The brave 39-year-old, described as an "amazing mum" and "one in a million", studied at Canterbury Christ Church University before joining the acute medical unit at the QEQM in 2017.
It is understood she started showing symptoms of coronavirus about two weeks ago before her condition deteriorated and she was taken into intensive care at the QEQM and put on a ventilator.
She had been in a critical condition, with her family willing her to wake up before she tragically died yesterday.
Her daughter Megan bravely shared a post on Facebook, describing her as an angel.
"Look at all the lives you looked after and all the families you comforted when patients passed away," she wrote.
"You are an angel and you will wear your NHS crown forever more because you earned that crown the very first day you started.
"Your Meggy misses you beyond belief. One day when I have children of my own I will tell your grandchildren about their GG (glamorous gran) which you wanted to be called, every single day.
"I could go on all day long and have so many things to say but I have to be strong.
"Night night mummy."
Friends and loved ones also wrote emotional posts on social media about the "amazing" nurse.
Lucy Page wrote: "Every now and again special people come in to your life and they have the highest impact.
"Aimee O'Rourke taught to me fight for what I believe in and gave me courage so many times to do it.
"I was even more lucky not only to be her friend but her work colleague as well and I cannot tell how many times I saw her fighting for what was right for her patients.
"Aimee loved all her three beautiful girls, friends and family so much and she would go to any lengths to protect them.
"You knew that if you ever had a problem then she would be there before you had even put the phone down.
"She was amazing and I am the proudest person ever to say that she was my friend.
"You were one in a million and you are going to leave such an empty space in all our hearts forever."
Following the tragedy, many friends said it emphasised the importance of staying at home to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Naomi Lawrence posted: "To the people who think it’ll never happen to them, the people who think they’re invincible and the people who just want to use this time as a ‘laugh’.
"There’s nothing funny about this virus, it doesn’t care for your age, your health, your family or your life...please just stay indoors because even if you don’t ‘care if you get it’ the person you give it too will and the devastation this virus is causing is indescribable.
"You never think it’ll happen to you but it can so just stay safe, stay indoors and stay grateful for your loved ones."
People are being asked to light a candle for Ms O'Rourke at 8pm tonight, with many tributes shared on a Facebook group set up to support the event.
A Go Fund Me page has also been set up to help her family, which has already reached more than £16,000.
To donate click here.
Soraya Zanders, who set up the page, wrote: "Please give as much as you can to help Aimee's family, just as Aimee gave her life to make sure other people survived this virus."
Her colleagues have also paid tribute to her.
Coronavirus deaths in the UK are at almost 3,000 with at least 34 confirmed in Kent, but experts warn the actual number is even higher than originally thought.
Some 33,718 people have tested positive for the virus across the UK according to government figures, with 2,921 people in hospital succumbing to the infection.