CHICAGO (CBS) — This Christmas is especially hard for the family of one Chicago Police officer, who died of COVID-19 just before Christmas.
The Fraternal Order of Police Saturday confirmed that Jose Huerta, 50, was the most recent CPD member to die of COVID-19.READ MORE: Pair Charged In Murder Of 8-Year-Old Melissa Ortega Denied Bail; Accused Teen Gunman Committed Three Previous Carjackings, Prosecutors Say
Huerta’s family, who call him Joey, said he died after an agonzing battle.
“He was the personification of kindness,” said Adriana Sandoval, who is related to Huerta’s wife Liz. “It was Joey’s favorite holiday.”
Sandoval comforted her and the couple’s two children, Joseph and Ariel, over the phone.
“Although they did try to open gifts, because that’s what Joey would have wanted, it’s definitely not the same because there’s a huge void in their lives right now,” Sandoval said.
Huerta died of COVID-19 just two days before Christmas.
But Sandoval said his symptoms started in late November and only got worse. He went into cardiac arrest in mid December.
“They recusitated him. His then prognosis wast that he had a less than one-percent chance of liviwg,” she said.READ MORE: COVID-19 Disparities: First Peek Inside New Lifestyle Hub - One Solution To Ending Disproportionate Impact On Black Chicagoans
She could not say if Huerta was vaccinated or had any underlying health conditions.
“Our focus was just on Joey getting out of this and getting better. Unfortunately we didn’t get the outcome we wanted,” she said.
The Chicago Police Department did not have a statement on Huerta’s death, but the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police put out a statement saying, “Sadly, we have lost another member to COVID.”
He was a member who Sandoval said served on the police force for more than a decade. He would go on to win a join operations award for his work in a 2017 homicide case.
But Sandoval said, above all, his favorite duty was to his family — a value she said many can relate to and remember.
“We’ve all had a very difficult last almost two years. Everybody. And I think that we need to go back to basics and just care about one another,” she said.
A GoFundMe page for Huerta’s family had raised nearly $28,000 of a $35,000 goal as of Dec. 25 at 4:30 p.m.MORE NEWS: COPA Completes Investigation Into Fatal 2021 Police Shooting Of Anthony Alvarez
According to a Facebook post by the FOP Chicago Lodge No. 7, arrangements are pending for Huerta.