Flu claims life of young Victorian father on his first Father's Day

Australia’s flu epidemic has claimed another victim after a young dad in the prime of his life in the early hours Sunday.

It’s believed the 30-year-old Victorian man succumbed to the flu on what would have been his first Father’s Day.

Last week Ben Ihlow was a healthy husband, a proud dad and a devoted family man.

A young Victorian father died in the early hours of what was to be his first Father's Day. Source: 7 News

On Monday he caught a bug and by Friday his condition had deteriorated and he was taken to emergency.

“Everyone's in shock 'cos it was sudden he got sick on the Monday and just had bit of a bug,” uncle Neil Adams told 7 News.

Ben passed away in the early hours of Sunday.

Young Victorian father Ben Ihlow, seen here with his wife Samantha and son Andrew, died of the flu on Sunday. Source: 7 News

The bottle shop worker and loving husband leaves behind a 10-month-old baby boy.

“He was bubbly and bright he loved to play cricket and sport and loved his football,” Mr Adams said about his late nephew.

The close-knit community of Bacchus Marsh has been left shocked by the young dad's sudden death.

The town, which is west of Melbourne, is rallying around Ben’s wife Samantha and their little boy Andrew.

The loving and devoted father's death has shocked the Bacchus March community. Source: 7 News

Uncle Neil Adams said the community was doing “whatever we can and give them whatever help we can and if anyone can give theem a hand, that'd be great”.

A donations page on YouCaring has been set-up to help the family with financial costs.

In one of the worst flu seasons on record, there have been more than 12,000 cases of influenza in Victoria this year and eight deaths at a Wangaratta nursing home.

The epidemic has led to a national shortage of anti-viral drug Tamiflu, but immunisations are still available.

Dr Lorraine Baker of the Australian Medical Association said Australians should expect reports of “identified influenza for at least the next two months”.