‘We were afraid of losing our parents, but the youngest died’: the 25-year-old victim of the covid-19 – 03/04/2021

Igor Soares Silva stayed at home throughout the pandemic, but his father had to work to support the family and became infected with coronavirus. Young, the artist already sold drawings abroad.

In the last year of his life, Igor Soares Silva left home at 4:45 am every day to drive his father to work. His biggest fear was that Valdir, a 64-year-old electrician, would be infected with the coronavirus. By car, he would protect his father from the dangers of the crowded bus or subway.

He spent the whole day at home, in M’Boi Mirim, south of São Paulo, doing what he most liked to do: drawing. It was his passion and his profession. He only left home to accompany his mother to the market or to pick up his father at work, at 6 pm.

Until Valdir was moved to a more distant workplace: a mall on Avenida Paulista. Igor had to start leaving his father at the subway station.

When Valdir got infected at the end of February – maybe at work, maybe on public transport – there was no way. At home, physical distance was impossible. Igor, sister Korine, 34, Valdir and Igor’s mother, Gilda, 61, all slept in the same room.

Igor’s father and mother, his sister-in-law (bottom), sister Korine, brother Helder and Igor, victim of covid-19 at 25

Image: Personal archive / BBC News

The four caught coronavirus and were very ill, says Korine. On the seventh day of symptoms, with a father and brother with great difficulty in breathing, Korine took them both to an AMA (Ambulatory Medical Assistance) post. The father was admitted, but the brother was told to return home. “He was lying down all day. He must have been thinking, ‘I’m going to take it. My dad is already in the hospital, and I’m everything to my mom,'” says Korine.

Until he couldn’t take it anymore, and the family decided to take him to the hospital. Two days later, Igor made a video call to one of his older brothers: Helder, the best man. “I’m going to need to be intubated. But nobody’s to worry, everything’s going to be all right. I trust God, trust God too.”

In Brazil, the initial perception of the pandemic that young people were less likely to develop the most severe form of covid-19 is no longer the same. Now, what doctors have seen in Brazilian ICUs is young people arriving collapsed at the hospital, needing places in the intensive care unit and intubation. Many make up the number of 328,000 killed by covid-19 in the country.

The disease affected Igor’s lung, liver and kidneys, which had no comorbidities. The 25-year-old was intubated for 33 days, but did not resist and died on Monday (3/29). Igor left parents, three brothers, friends and fans of his work. He also left his drawings and illustrations, some of which are reproduced in this report.

“Our concern at home has always been our parents. We never thought it was Igor who was going to be bad the way he was,” says Korine. “We were afraid of the death of our parents, but we lost our youngest,” she says, emotionally.

The middle brother, Helder, 36, says that now every day he wakes up with “a pain in the chest, a pain in the heart”. “It’s a piece of me that is no longer with me.”

The most desired

Igor was born on April 25, 1995, the fifth child and the “most desired”, says the sister. Before him, housewife Gilda gave birth to a baby who died in the first hours of life. In Igor’s pregnancy, he remained at rest the entire time. “When he was born, it was like she took a happy pill,” says Korine.

He was really a little kid. The age difference with the older brother was 12 years old. Thiago, Helder and Korine were a step ladder and, Igor, the baby. “He was the son who, being the youngest, had all the treats of his parents and siblings”, says Thiago, the oldest, now 37 years old.

Igor, his sister, Korine, his father, Valdir, and his mother, Gilda, slept in the same room in a house in M’Boi Mirim

Image: Personal archive / BBC News

At the same time, he says, Igor did not become a spoiled child. “He had a lot of respect for us, his brothers, and a great affection for my parents. His life was my parents,” he says.

Parents and four children often traveled together: to the coast of São Paulo or to Minas, where their uncles live. Igor liked the garden, horses and other animals.

Drawing, a passion

It was looking at the older brothers that he began to draw. “When I was about 15 and he was about four, I drew and taught him,” says Helder. The youngest also started to play guitar because of his brother. “Grudes”, as defined by Korine.

“He was very attached to me. We talked, he asked for advice. I was always a big brother to him and he was always a big brother to me. He did everything for him,” says Helder, who defines him as a “family” person. , with a good heart. Igor wanted to make his father’s and mother’s dreams come true, and he was also a fighter, he believed and fought for what he wanted, he describes.

At school, Igor “drew a lot”, remembers his best friend, Tamyris de Lima, 26 years old. The two met when they were 15 years old. Igor was playing a song by the heavy metal band Metallica on the guitar – “but playing badly”, laughs Tamyris – and she went to play with him.

“We were kind of the opposite of the other. I was outgoing and he was more shy,” she says. Even before the pandemic, Igor was already at home. “Very nerdy”, as the friend says. I didn’t go out, I didn’t go to the club. The program of the two friends was to go to the cinema.

For her, her best friend was a person with a pure heart. “Innocent of everything. He had his nerdy way, quietly. That’s why it hurts so much, a person so much in his, that he didn’t go out, that happens.”

The publicist André Carvalho, 26, remembers the times he went to his friend’s house, before the pandemic, to play table RPGs and have beers in the backyard. Nerd stuff. Igor, says the friend, was like this: “a first rate nerd”.

He had a passion for pop culture, comics and science fiction. I listened to rock and metal. He played games like The Witcher 3, his favorite, but he also looked for games from independent studios to analyze the designs of the games and learn and meet new artists.

He was a DC Comics fan – his favorite heroes were Batman and Superman. Books? Fantasy and sword and witchcraft. Works like “Lord of the Rings”, “Dune”, or science fiction books by Isaac Asimov, one of the most famous authors of the genre in the 20th century.

He himself liked to develop stories. Carvalho remembers how he, Igor and another friend had a project to develop a comic book. Igor would help with the script and design everything.

Igor’s drawings reflect his passion for fiction. There are dragons, wizards and mermaids in action scenes, drawings full of details. He delved into his work, doing studies and tests with the characters he created.

“Igor’s talent was interrupted, unfortunately. I hope it will inspire other artists, which is something he really wanted,” says Carvalho.

He says that his friend always put people up, especially in relation to the professional aspirations of each one. “He always told us to continue, not to give up, not to let us stand still.”

That was how he himself decided to face the desire to be an artist.


Before deciding to dedicate himself fully to the art, Igor worked as an office boy and as a packer in a fruit and vegetable. “But he never adapted,” says Thiago. “He was born to draw. That was very much ingrained in him.”

Then, with the support of his parents, he took drawing courses at a digital art school, transferring his drawings from paper to the computer.

Despite having difficulty maintaining the rented house, Igor’s father struggled to pay for materials and courses for his son.

At home, the young man had his space: a table in a corner of the kitchen, where his computer was and where he spent days and nights studying and practicing. After the courses, he became self-taught.

“He grew up and started to have a very strong personality as a man. He put it in his head that he wanted that dream and was very decided and determined”, says Thiago.

On social media, the young man took on professional profiles, defining himself as an illustrator, conceptual artist and character designer from São Paulo.

His profile photo, drawn by him, is a self-portrait with Polly, his beloved parrot, on his shoulder. Last year, his career began to take off. Igor began to sell his works abroad, earning in dollars and helping in a large part of the family’s accounts. I wanted to buy a house for the mother.

When his brothers announced on Twitter that he had passed away, the family received a shower of messages of admiration and affection. There were almost 33 thousand likes in the message and 2 thousand comments, many of whom knew Igor’s work just now, multiplying the scope of his art. Others are from his many virtual friends, to whom he gave advice on illustrations, doubts and aspirations.

The admiration and gratitude for Igor is repeated in the comments: “Igor was one of the best people I met. He always encouraged me to continue with art and heard my cries several nights in a row”, “I am very grateful to have met a very understanding and considerate “,” I was always happy to see him here. He helped and advised me with a lot of things “,” A person with a good heart, always willing to help others “.

The news of his death reached an idol: the voice of the superman in Brazil, Guilherme Briggs, who published on the networks some illustrations made by Igor and the link to his portfolio, asking for a prayer and “lots of love, light and energy positive “for the boy.

The family was thrilled to see the recognition of the youngest talent. “Unfortunately, due to this disease and our government, his life was interrupted”, says Thiago.

But, for him, Igor lived doing everything he loved and now after death he managed to fulfill himself. “Your smile and your art will stay.”

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