The first man to receive a Covid-19 vaccination has died of an unrelated illness, aged 81.

William “Bill” Shakespeare was only the second person in the world to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in December at University Hospital Coventry, soon after 91-year-old Margaret Keenan at the same hospital.

Paying tribute following his peaceful death, his wife Joy said the former parish councillor and father-of-two was “so grateful” to have the jab so early.

“It was something he was hugely proud of – he loved seeing the media coverage and the positive difference he was able to make to the lives of so many,” she said in a statement.

“He often talked to people about it and would always encourage everyone to get their vaccine whenever he could.”

Coventry councillor Jayne Innes said the “best tribute to Bill is to have the jab”.

Shakespeare was an inpatient on a frailty ward when he had his first jab, which he called “wonderful”.

West Midlands Labour group said on Twitter: “Bill made global headlines as [the first] man to have Covid vaccine.

“His decades of service to the party were recently recognised by Keir Starmer.

“Our thoughts are with Joy and Bill’s family and friends.”

Shakespeare leaves his wife Joy, their two adult sons and grandchildren.

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