Man, 34, Dies From COVID Nine Days Before His Wedding Date: 'He Fought Hard'

Jeff Lee, from Indianapolis, contracted COVID-19 while also suffering from kidney disease.

An Indiana police officer has died of COVID-19 nine days before he was scheduled to be married.

Jeff Lee, who suffered from a rare kidney disease, was just 34. According to a GoFundMe created by Lee's fiancé, Elizabeth Roller, Lee was told he had a rare kidney disease called IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger's disease, in 2018.

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Lee was diagnosed with COVID-19 the week of October 18 and collapsed in his home four days later. "He was taken to the hospital unresponsive," Roller wrote on October 24. "He's now conscious again, but fighting to maintain oxygen levels on his own, and has a lot of fluid on his lungs."

Courtesy of Elizabeth Virginia / GoFundMe

Lee posted about his hospitalization in a Facebook post that has since been restricted. "I am battling deathly low oxygen levels, while still dealing with complications from kidney disease and dialysis and am fighting like hell to avoid being put down and going on a ventilator," he wrote, per People.

"So with that said, PLEASE... if [you] believe in the power of prayer, or positive vibes, I could use them right now. I have A LOT of things to look forward [to] in life. I'm not going down without a fight. Also pray for my [fiancée] Elizabeth as she is COVID-[positive] as well."

But an October 29 update to the GoFundMe revealed that Lee had died. "Jeff lost his battle with Covid on 10/28/21," the post said. "He fought hard. He was loved by so many and each of those relationships meant so much to him. Thank you all for your contributions. These funds will now go to help with adjustments for his fiancé to life without Jeff."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that people with kidney disease are at a higher risk than others of developing severe complications of COVID-19. The CDC specifically recommends that people with kidney disease and other high-risk conditions get fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as having a booster shot.

Roller told The Indianapolis Star that she and Lee were aware that his kidney disease put him at a high risk of developing complications of COVID-19, noting that the couple knew "it would be an issue if he ever did contract COVID." Roller, who would not say whether Lee was vaccinated against the virus, added, "unfortunately, our fears were met."

Roller said her fiancé was "always positive no matter what. He'd be dealing with the worst situations and he would find something good about it or something to be positive about."

Now, Roller said she's "just shocked" about Lee's death. "My entire life is uprooted ... I don't know if I can put it into words," she said. "He had so much to live for, and he knew he did."

The GoFundMe has raised nearly $5,000 toward its $20,000 goal.

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