A 37-year-old Canberra father has become the latest victim of Australia’s deadly flu season, leaving behind a heartbroken wife and three young sons.

Mate Babic “tragically and unexpectedly” died after complications with influenza B, close friends of the couple said in a GoFundMe created on Thursday to help support his three “beautiful” boys — aged 3, 6 and 7 — and wife Carla Babic.

“As we gather to mourn this profound loss, we recognise that in addition to the emotional toll, there are practical challenges that lie ahead for the family,” the GoFundMe reads.

Mate Babic, who died from complications with the flu, with his wife Carla and three young sons.

Mate Babic 'tragically and unexpectedly' died this week after complications with influenza B. Source: GoFundMe

“We have started this campaign to rally support for Carla and their children. Our goal is to provide them with a financial safety net that will alleviate the immediate strain of funeral arrangement costs, household expenses, mortgage repayments, raising three boys on her own and give them some breathing room to navigate this difficult time.”

Family worried about losing home

The most pressing concern for Mate’s family is keeping their family home, which he built himself, but still requires work.

“Building the home was Mate's way of providing for the family. It would be absolutely devastating to lose it,” the friends said, noting his widow’s “profound grief”. “Every donation, no matter the size, will make a tangible impact on their lives and show Carla that she is not alone in this journey.

Mate Babic and his wife Carla with a young baby.

Friends are rallying around the widow and her sons as they grieve. Source: Facebook

“Together, we can make a difference and ensure that this beautiful family can stay in their home and focus on healing and rebuilding their lives.”

Friends have paid tribute to their “good friend” who was “taken away too soon” online, one of which said he passed away on Wednesday.

Influenza B strain surging

The news comes just days after it was confirmed an 11-year-old Queensland girl and a Year 9 student from the NSW Central Coast also recently died from the influenza B strain.

Emma Schwab, from Noosa, died last Thursday in Sunshine Coast University Hospital after contracting the disease. It’s understood she had sought private treatment for the illness before presenting to hospital.

There has been a reported 37 per cent increase in NSW emergency department presentations with influenza-like illness, and a 30 per cent increase in admissions to hospital in the week to July 2, compared to the previous week.

Children under 16 represented about half (54 per cent) of all ED presentations for influenza-like illness, and more than a third (around 40 per cent) of all influenza-like illness hospital admissions in the past week.

Queensland Chief Health Officer John Gerrard said this week the state had experienced an influenza A wave leading into winter, but influenza B had taken over as the dominant strain in July. “There have been three times more hospital admissions for influenza B than influenza A in children aged less than five years,” Dr Gerrard said in a statement.

with AAP and NCA NewsWire

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