Ryde woman Kelly Clarke, 24, has died of a mystery illness while honeymooning with husband Chase Clarke in Fiji. Picture: FacebookSource:Facebook
Ryde woman Kelly Clarke, 24, has died of a mystery illness while honeymooning with husband Chase Clarke in Fiji. Picture: FacebookSource:Facebook

Family trying to raise $61k to fly body of newlywed home

UPDATE: THE BODY of a Sydney bride who died while on her honeymoon in Fiji is expected to be flown home today on a private plane.

The heartbreaking trip home will cost Kelly Clarke's family $61,000 but they are hopeful their insurance will cover the exorbitant costs.

Mrs Clarke was holidaying with her husband Chase at a resort in Sigatoka when she fell ill on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old shrugged it off as a stomach bug but within hours she was rushed to hospital in Lautoka where doctors began treating her for suspected typhoid but she died two days later.

Mrs Clarke's brother Murray Shaw told The Daily Telegraph the nurse died of "severe bilateral pneumonia".

Mr Clarke said it would cost $61,000 to bring his wife home on a private plane due to "her stomach bug and infection".

"We've got to abide by their laws," he said.

Mr Clarke said he now faced having to plan his wife's funeral.

"She'll be put on a plane and be taken home (on Monday) hopefully," he said.

"We want to go all together as one; we're definitely not leaving her behind and want to be with her."

"We're sticking together."

The family received a death certificate for Mrs Clarke from Fiji authorities on Sunday after an autopsy was undertaken.

Mrs Clarke's parents Karen and Graham Ian Shaw flew to Fiji from Sydney at the weekend to help organise the repatriation of their daughter's body.

The couple had been on Fiji's main island in the lead-up to the wedding of Mr Clarke's best mate.

When Mrs Clarke's condition worsened she was placed in an induced coma.

Her sister Tara Brown quickly launched a Go Fund Me page to help pay for a medical evacuation team to fly her to Auckland, New Zealand, for treatment.

Tragically Mrs Clarke died on Friday night before she could be flown to New Zealand.

More than $34,000 has since been raised through the page to help the family cover various costs.

Tribute flowed for Mrs Clarke yesterday, including an emotional post by Mr Shaw on Facebook.

"You beautiful girl and amazing sister you will be deeply missed," he wrote.

She was also remembered as "funny", "full of life" and "so beautiful" by her friends.

Mrs Clarke grew up in Killarney Heights and worked for years at the Kirribilli Club where the couple celebrated their wedding in April.

The young couple had planned to start a family together in the next two years.

TO DONATE VISIT THE GOFUNDME PAGE

Ms Clarke’s husband Chase said he had received a quote for $61,000 to fly her body home in a private jet.
Ms Clarke’s husband Chase said he had received a quote for $61,000 to fly her body home in a private jet.

EARLIER: A MYSTERY illness has claimed the life of Sydney children's nurse Kelly Clarke, 24, who was honeymooning in Fiji.

According to grieving husband Chase Clarke, 28, blood tests have ruled out Typhoid, which was originally suspected as the cause of death.

The Children's Hospital at Westmead post-op nurse began feeling ill on Wednesday but shrugged it off as a stomach bug, had a bath and hopped into bed to sleep it off.

Within hours she was rushed to hospital in Lautoka, half an hour north of popular tourist destination Nadi, where doctors first suspected Typhoid.

When she didn't respond to typical Typhoid treatments after two days, it was decided in the early hours of Friday morning to induce a coma.

Mr Kelly was back at the resort collecting the couple's belongings when doctors put her under.

"She said over the phone she was scared she was going to die and I just told her I loved her, what else could I say?" Mr Clarke said.

"I told her to be strong, that I was coming straight back and to rest up because she needed her strength."

That was the newlyweds' last ever conversation.

Mrs Clarke finally succumbed to her illness at 10.40pm on Friday night, less than an hour before a medevac team arrived to airlift her to Sydney.

The couple had been holidaying on the South Pacific island in the lead-up to Mr Clarke's best mate's wedding and had conquered a number of phobias together.

"We're both petrified of sharks but we went scuba diving and kayaking over open water and had a turtle come right up to us," he said.

The couple had plans to start a family within the next two years.

"She was very intelligent, beautiful, lovely and caring," he said.

"She loved kids and loved her work as a nurse and was getting great feedback from work."

Mrs Clarke grew up in Killarney Heights and worked for years at the Kirribilli Club for years, where the couple celebrated their wedding in April.

"Kelly was bright, bubbly and over the top; she loved her makeup and always looked the part," Kirribilli Club duty manager Launa Harper said.

Mr Clarke believed his wife had been vaccinated against typhoid, but she had contracted immune disorder lupus earlier this year.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) declined to discuss Mrs Clarke's case specifically, but regularly helps families fly home the remains of loved ones.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance, in accordance with the Consular Services Charter, to the family of an Australian woman who passed away in Fiji," a spokeswoman said.

Fijian doctors have told the family they will not release Mrs Clarke's remains until they have conducted an autopsy.

News Corp Australia

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