People.com Lifestyle Health Ohio Veteran Who Refused to Wear a Mask Dies of Coronavirus Complications "I've made it this far by not buying into that damn hype," Richard Rose III previously said of wearing a mask By Georgia Slater Georgia Slater Twitter Georgia Slater is a writer/reporter on the Parents team at PEOPLE. She began at the brand in 2018 as an editorial intern and later returned as an intern on the Food team. Upon graduating from the University of Maryland in 2019, Georgia worked as an entertainment intern at USA Today before coming back to PEOPLE as a digital news writer. In April 2021, she began her role as a Parents writer/reporter. People Editorial Guidelines Published on July 16, 2020 11:30 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Facebook An Ohio Army veteran died of the coronavirus just two months after he publicly condemned the use of face masks in an online social media post. According to his obituary, Richard Rose III, of Port Clinton, died at home on July 4 of complications related to the coronavirus. He was 37. The veteran, who served in the U.S. Army for nine years with two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was adamant about not wearing a face mask amid the pandemic, calling the precaution just part of the "hype" in an April 28 Facebook post. "Let me make this clear. I'm not buying a f—king mask," Rose wrote. "I've made it this far by not buying into that damn hype." Patient, 30, Dies After Attending 'COVID Party' in Texas, Told Nurse 'I Think I Made a Mistake' The controversial post garnered over 5,000 reactions, more than 800 comments, and has since been shared by nearly 20,000 people. In the comments, many people criticized Rose's decision to not wear a mask, some mocking the veteran even after hearing about his death. "Rick is getting slaughtered online right now for his decision that he made not to wear a mask and that’s not right,” Nick Conley, a friend of Rose's, told local station WOIO. “We should still be compassionate whether we agree with someone’s beliefs or not. Someone has passed away and we should have some compassion towards that.” Conley said he was "blown away" by Rose's death, sharing that he never thought the virus would kill someone of Rose's age. "You hear about this virus and you don’t expect it to affect people, younger people like ourselves,” he explained. If All Americans Wore Masks ‘We Could Drive This Epidemic to the Ground,’ Says CDC Director According to WOIO, Rose tested positive for COVID-19 on July 1 and died three days later. His family told the outlet that he had no pre-existing health conditions. “It’s horrible that we lost Rick but the even more tragic part of that is who else became infected because of the actions that he chose,” Conley added. He hopes that Rose's decision not to wear a mask will act as a warning to others during this time. Conley shared, "I know a lot of people that haven’t met someone that they know of that has been diagnosed with the virus and I wanted people to see it was real and my hope is that people will see that this does happen and people will be more cautious." As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.