Writer Toby Young’s half-sister, 25, dies suddenly just hours after developing ‘severe headache’

Writer Toby Young’s half-sister, 25, dies suddenly just hours after developing ‘severe headache’

WRITER and commentator Toby Young’s half-sister died suddenly just hours after complaining of a "severe headache".

"Healthy" Gaia Young, 25, spent a day cycling in the sunshine before suddenly falling ill and being rushed to hospital in Euston, North London.

She was taken to University College London Hospital – and just hours later was declared brain dead.

Gaia was the daughter of Lord Michael Young who died, aged 86, when she was just five.

Her death is currently being treated as unexplained because the first post-mortem carried out on her came back inconclusive. She tested negative for Covid in hospital.

She is the half-sister of writer and journalist Mr Young, because Lord Young was also his father.

Her friends became seriously worried when she didn’t show up to a birthday party – and they knew something was wrong when they went to her house and no one was home.

The 25-year-old was placed on a ventilator in ICU, but she didn’t regain consciousness and sadly died on July 21.

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During the coronavirus lockdowns, Gaia volunteered for the Islington Covid-19 taskforce – and she helped people who had to shield as well as the homeless.

And she also donated nine inches of her hair three days before her death to the charity Little Princess Trust – which makes wigs for cancer patients.

In tribute to the 25-year-old, her friends wrote: "Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing Gaia, will remember her kindness, intelligence, creativity, free-spirited nature and her bravery in always being her authentic self.

"Our sadness of her passing is more than words can say.

"The cause of death is still unknown, but has been a great shock to us all, given how young, healthy and full of life as she was."

The hospital has now launched an investigation into Gaia’s death, after an initial post-mortem came back inconclusive.

Gaia graduated from Bristol University where she studied history, before working in Austria at a hotel and then for a tech start-up.

She had also volunteered in Nepal, building schools for girls, and donating her salary to various charities including Shelter and the Refugee Council.

Speaking to the Islington Tribute, her mum Dorit Young, said: “It is so tragic. Gaia was an incredibly socially minded and engaged young person.

"At the moment her death is unexplained and the first post-mortem is inconclusive. It happened so quickly.


“An investigation has been launched into her care and I hope I get the answers.”

A celebration of Gaia’s life was held on Monday at Hackney City Farm – where she had pottery classes with her mother after her father died.

Busayo Agbetuyi, 25, one of Gaia’s school friends, has set up a fundraiser in her memory and is aiming to raise £15,000 for causes she supported.

She added: “Most people are focused on their work, and that is it, but she had her arts and crafts, dancing, painting and photography.

“She was a charitable person.

“Her death has unlocked and uncovered actually how much she did for others. She was humble and didn’t scream and shout about it."

Another friend, Emily, said that Gaia had one of the "brightest personalities I’ve ever met."


She added: "She was truly unique, and she will be dearly missed amongst our group of friends."

Gaia’s friends helped to organise the memorial – there was a craft table where mourners could make their own memory book of Gaia’s life.

A UCLH spokesperson said: “Our deepest sympathies go to Gaia’s loved ones at this very sad and difficult time.

"We are in contact with her family and reviewing the circumstances leading to her death.”

You can contribute to Gaia’s fundraiser here.

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