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‘Eternally grateful’: Mark Kilian with father as he died after COVID exemption battle

Mark Kilian has issued a heartfelt thank you to the Australian people after his father Frans died on Thursday night.

Mr Kilian and his wife Anneli, who are both vaccinated against COVID-19, flew into Sydney from Los Angeles but had their application to enter Queensland to see his 80-year-old dying father initially denied by Queensland Health.

US citizen Mark Kilian and his wife Anneli Gericke received an exemption to visit Frans.

US citizen Mark Kilian and his wife Anneli Gericke received an exemption to visit Frans.

But after national scrutiny, Queensland Health gave the couple the exemption and they were able to fly into the state on a private plane which cost $15,000 before visiting Frans in the Gold Coast University Hospital.

Mr Kilian thanked the Australian people for their support that he said allowed him to see Frans, who was suffering from pancreatic cancer, before he died.

“If it wasn’t for all the support from…the Australian people, we would never have been able to have these last six days to be there with my Dad and hold his hand as he slipped away,” he said.

“We are eternally grateful.”

Mark Kilian and his father Frans.

Mark Kilian and his father Frans.

The case drew national attention as the Kilian family, including Frans, made desperate pleas to the Queensland government to allow them into the state.

The couple had returned several negative COVID tests each while in hotel quarantine in Sydney and had been pleading with Queensland Health for an exemption into the state to see Frans as his health declined.

But last Friday, under strict conditions and surrounded by medical staff wearing protective equipment, the pair finally saw Frans in hospital, where he just smiled.

The couple were unable to hug or kiss Frans, but the family said it was a relief to be with him.

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