J.J. Boatman had shown no signs of contracting the virus before being rushed to the hospital for difficulty breathing

By Georgia Slater
February 02, 2021 12:53 PM
Advertisement
Credit: GoFundMe

A 9-year-old Texas boy has died from complications related to COVID-19 just 24 hours after testing positive for the fatal virus.

J.J. Boatman of Fort Worth was rushed to the emergency room on Jan. 25 after he told his mom he was having difficulty breathing.

"He was just running around and playing earlier that day, and by the nighttime, he was yelling and crying to his mom that he couldn't breathe. His mom went over, and his face was blue already and his lips were blue," Gabriel Ayala, Boatman's uncle, told local TV station KTVT.

He was then flown to Cook Children's Medical Center where doctors discovered Boatman's lungs filled with fluid and his brain swollen from lack of oxygen. Boatman was tested for COVID-19 at the medical center and returned a positive test.

Boatman's heart gave out and he died the following morning. The doctors told Boatman's mother that her son had died from complications related to COVID-19.

According to TV station WLOX, no one knew Boatman had contracted COVID-19 as he never showed any symptoms of the virus.

"[Boatman's mother] didn't know that she was going to come home empty-handed without her son," Ayala told KTVT. "That was her baby boy. That was her only son."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

Just last month, Boatman celebrated his ninth birthday with tacos and cake.

"We're going to miss his whole life," Ayala added. "He's going to miss his whole life. His life hadn't even started."

Jason Boatman, J.J.'s father, told the outlet that his son was healthy and active besides having asthma as well as autism and ADHD.

"You don't know how to live life anymore because everything's just literally changed," Jason said. "Everything has literally just changed when your baby boy is not ever coming back."

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover funeral expenses. As of Tuesday, the family has raised nearly $26,000.

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 the 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.