West Yorkshire man died of Legionnaires disease he contracted in stay at Bulgarian resort

Brian Taylor, from Huddersfield, who died of Legionnaires disease after staying at a hotel in Bulgaria on holiday. Picture: Irwin Mitchell Solicitors
Brian Taylor, from Huddersfield, who died of Legionnaires disease after staying at a hotel in Bulgaria on holiday. Picture: Irwin Mitchell Solicitors
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A pensioner from West Yorkshire died after catching Legionnaires disease while staying at a hotel in Bulgaria.

An investigation has been launched after the death of 75-year-old Brian Taylor, who caught the illness following a stay at the Hotel Kalofer in Sunny Beach earlier this summer.

Brian Taylor (left) who died of Legionnaires disease after staying at a hotel in Bulgaria on holiday. Picture: Irwin Mitchell Solicitors

Brian Taylor (left) who died of Legionnaires disease after staying at a hotel in Bulgaria on holiday. Picture: Irwin Mitchell Solicitors

Brian's tour operator Jet2 Holidays, based in Leeds, has since revealed that there have been four reported cases of the disease potentially linked to the Hotel Kalofer.

It follows the death of another Jet2 customer, John Cowan from Scotland, who also died of Legionnaires disease following a stay at the same hotel.

Mr Taylor, from Huddersfield, died nearly a month after he was admitted to Calderdale Royal Hospital with flu-like symptoms shortly after his return from a week at the resort in June.

He had been staying at the hotel alone due to his wife of 41 years, Nancy Sykes-Taylor, being in a care home with dementia.

Hotel Kalofer at Sunny Beach in Bulgaria

Hotel Kalofer at Sunny Beach in Bulgaria

Two days after his return, Brian's stepson Martin Farrell, 58, went to stay with him and noticed he had developed a high temperature and was shaking as if he was bitterly cold. When he later called to check on him, Brian had seen a GP who had prescribed antibiotics.

The pensioner later collapsed was taken to hospital in Halifax by ambulance, before spending 25 days in intensive care.

Brian was initially diagnosed with pneumonia, a collapsed lung and sepsis, but the diagnosis was later changed to Legionnaires disease. Sadly, he passed away on June 24.

Since his death, Brian's family have been seeking legal support to look into whether his death was directly linked to his stay at the Hotel Kalofer.

Brian Taylor's stepson Martin Farrell (right) is seeking legal support to investigate whether the death was directly connected to staying at the hotel. Picture: Irwin Mitchell Solicitors

Brian Taylor's stepson Martin Farrell (right) is seeking legal support to investigate whether the death was directly connected to staying at the hotel. Picture: Irwin Mitchell Solicitors

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Jatinder Paul, legal expert at Irwin Mitchell representing the family, said: “All of Brian’s family are understandably heart-broken by their loss and are struggling to come to terms with what happened.

“Through our work we are sadly only too aware of the devastating consequences of Legionnaires’ disease and nothing highlights this more than Brian’s death.

“We are now investigating how Brian contracted his illness and looking into his stay at the Hotel Kalofer. It is extremely worrying that other guests who stayed at the same hotel have also contracted this potentially fatal infection.

“Following an outbreak of Legionnaires disease it is vital that the source is identified as soon as possible. If any members of the public start experiencing any of the symptoms it is crucial that they seek immediate medical advice.

“In addition, we would be interested in speaking to anyone who has any information regarding the standards at the Hotel Kalofer as they may be able to assist us with our investigations.”

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Stepson Martin Farrell, of Chesterfield, said: “When he collapsed and was admitted to hospital we couldn’t believe it. He had to be sedated and it was awful to see him like that in the intensive care unit.

“We thought he was turning a corner at one point but then the unimaginable happened. It was a complete shock to us all.”

Brian’s stepdaughter Lorraine Williams, 54, added: “We cannot believe what has happened. One minute Brian was going on holiday and then the next he had passed.

“Brian was a wonderful man who would do anything for his family. We are heartbroken at how he died and the fact that he never got to say goodbye to mum.

“We cannot thank the hospital staff enough for the care they gave Brian. However, we have so many concerns about what happened on his holiday and if more should have done to prevent his illness.

“We couldn’t believe it when we were told that others who stayed at the same hotel had also tested positive for Legionnaires.

“Nothing can make up for Brian’s death but we need to know what happened.”

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A second man who instructed Irwin Mitchell stayed at the Hotel Kalofer with his wife between 4 and 11 June. He started to feel unwell on the last day of his holiday.

On return to the UK he was admitted to hospital where he was placed in an induced coma in intensive care. The man was diagnosed with Legionnaire’s, pneumonia and sepsis.

He has been discharged. However, it is still unclear how long his recovery will take.

A spokeswoman for Jet2 Holidays said: “Sadly, we can confirm that two customers recently passed away shortly after returning to the UK from holiday in Bulgaria. We would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to their families at this very difficult time, and we have been in constant contact to offer all the assistance and support that we can.

“The health and safety of our customers is our absolute priority. In response, and to support our investigation, two independent specialists were instructed to take samples from the hotel and a UKAS accredited laboratory conducted testing of the water samples for any contamination. The results of all their tests were negative. We will continue to assist the local authorities in their investigations as required.

“Despite these results we have taken further precautionary measures, like other UK tour operators at the hotel. We have transferred all customers and all bookings for this Summer to other hotels, and we have also put a stop on sales to the affected hotel for Summer 19 and Summer 20.”