Few countries rallied behind a national figure as much as Britain did with Mr. Moore during the pandemic: Through his routine walks on the brick patio next to his garden in Marston Moretaine, a tranquil village an hour north of London, Mr. Moore became a media sensation, a heartwarming, fatherly figure, and a national inspiration embodying the country’s resilience in the middle of a pandemic.
Feb. 2, 2021, 7:52 p.m. ET
“He was one of these people who was exactly like he was on television,” said John Maguire, a BBC journalist who interviewed him several times.
As Britain became one of the worst-hit countries by the pandemic last year, and news reports showed alarming video from overwhelmed hospitals, Mr. Moore turned into a superstar fund-raiser, who rallied behind his steps thousands of donors and ultimately raised 33 million pounds, or $45 million, for the overstretched National Health Service.
“It’s not just about the funds he raised, it’s the inspiration he has been for so many throughout the country,” said Ellie Orton, the chief executive for NHS charity, which was the recipient of Mr. Moore’s fund-raiser. “Because he had this attitude of ‘You’re never too old to make a difference,’ his legacy will be felt throughout the whole of the N.H.S., and throughout the whole of the country,” Ms. Orton added on the BBC.
Mr. Moore didn’t receive the coronavirus vaccine because he was suffering from pneumonia, and in recent days some social media commentators criticized a trip that he and his family had taken to the Caribbean island of Barbados in December, at a time when the authorities were discouraging travels overseas. (There is no evidence that Mr. Moore was infected with the coronavirus during his trip, and his travels, paid for by British Airways, happened before the British authorities imposed a new nationwide lockdown in England.)
Mr. Moore’s death comes a week after Britain reported a total of 100,000 coronavirus deaths, a staggering number that prompted several British news outlets to celebrate the lives and names of some of the pandemic’s victims.
Through media appearances last year, Mr. Moore shared messages of hope and optimism that inspired many. His duet of “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” with British singer Michael Ball, became a sensation.