Friends and family of the healthy 23-year-old who died after suffering severe complications from COVID-19 have pleaded with the public to treat the virus seriously.

James Kondilios, a science graduate and powerlifter living in Canberra, was double vaccinated and had no underlying health conditions when he was hospitalised for Covid.

He died on Tuesday at St Vincent’s Hospital.

Julia Adamcewicz, a friend of Mr Kondilios, shared a heartbreaking tribute and said his death was a warning that “even the strongest and wisest can be taken from this world before their time”.

“Yesterday was a reminder that this battle with Covid we have all been a part of for the last few years is not something to be taken lightly as even the healthiest people can be taken far too young.”

She described Mr Kondilios as a supportive friend who “would do anything for the people close to him”.

Mr Kondilios grew up in Sydney, attended Waverley College and won two bronze medals while representing Australia at the Power Lifting Championships in Finland in 2015.

“A proud Waverley student, we hear he wore the Waverley sports shirt under his official Australian track suit for the presentation,” the school shared on social media at the time.

He went on to complete an advanced science degree at the Australian National University, during which time he also won a national Science and Innovation award for his work on forestry and climate change.

Stephen Ma, a fellow ANU student, colleague and friend of Mr Kondilios, also shared a tearful tribute to him on Facebook.

“Bro, forgive me my words came a bit late, I tried to put down something but I couldn’t, the mist of the tears blocked my eyesight, and the memories with you flashed back, just like a movie,” Mr Ma wrote.

“The last message you sent to me was ‘couldn’t ask for a better friend’.

“Likewise bro, the years I spent with you will always be a great part of my life, you will always be on my mind to delight me, encourage me and guide me.

Image: Stephen Ma (Facebook)

“I will try to be a better person just like you bro, kind, sweet, nice to everyone and love everyone. We have been through a wonderful journey, and I want to show my best appreciation and respect to you for standing by me bro.

“It’s going to take a long time, I feel so lucky I was to have you in my life, even if it was not for as long as we would have liked.”

According to a Facebook post by Acropolis Funerals, Mr Kondilios’ service will be held on Thursday, January 13 at St Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church.

The service will be streamed via the funeral home’s YouTube page, and family and friends attending in person have been encouraged to wear colour “as that was what he would have loved”.

Image: Acropolis Funeral Services (Facebook)

“Sincere thanks extended for the warm sentiments and expressions of sympathy and condolences, received from James’ family at this difficult time,” the post reads.

Mr Kondilios was the youngest of six people whose deaths were reported on Thursday morning.

Image: Stephen Ma (Facebook)

This article first appeared on OverSixty.