Former Nashville Council Member Skeptical of Coronavirus Dies of COVID-19

Tony Tenpenny, 57, died over the weekend after spending weeks in the hospital battling the contagious respiratory virus

Tony Tenpenny
Tony Tenpenny. Photo: facebook

A former council member for Nashville, Tennessee, has died of complications from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Tony Tenpenny, 57, died over the weekend after spending weeks in the hospital battling the contagious respiratory virus, NBC News reported Monday.

Tenpenny was a vocal skeptic of the virus' severity and shared several posts on social media that spread disinformation about the pandemic. Facebook even labeled at least one of his posts as "false information."

Tennessee has had more than 184,000 reported cases of COVID-19, with more than 2,000 deaths related to the virus, according to data from the state's department of health. At least 26,017 of those confirmed cases have been in Davidson County, which encompasses Nashville.

Nationwide, there have been more than 6.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to data from the New York Times. The deadly virus is now the third-largest killer of Americans.

Tenpenny spent more than a month in the hospital, the Tennessean reported and was placed on a ventilator earlier this month. According to, Tenpenny had underlying medical issues.

"I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former councilman Tony Tenpenny. I send my condolences to his wife, Robbie, their son Ira and the rest of the Tenpenny family," Nashville Mayor John Cooper said on Twitter Sunday.

Robbie shared the news of her husband's death on Facebook, the Tennessean reported.

"It is with a very heavy heart that I let you all know, Tony passed away yesterday. Please pray for me, our son Ira and family as we process this tragic loss," she reportedly said.

Tenpenny was a member of the Metropolitan Council's District 16 from 2011 to 2015, when he lost his bid for reelection. He ran again last year, but lost to Ginny Welsch.

"The message to me is that Covid is no joke, it knows no boundary, and no matter what you might believe, it doesn’t care," Welsch said in a statement obtained by NBC News on Monday. "Anyone can be felled by it. Not taking the precautions we know work to slow the spread is like playing Russian roulette. You are risking your life and the lives of those around you."

On Twitter, Welsch said, "So sorry to hear Tony Tenpenny lost his fight w\ Covid. I didn't know Tony, but I know he had an impact on the 16th that will be unmatched. My thoughts go out to his family, Robbie and Ira, through this difficult time. May your memories be bountiful & sweet."

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