Jay-Natalie La Santa, the daughter of firefighter Jerel La Santa, passed away on Monday

By Gabrielle Chung
April 23, 2020 05:53 PM
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The 5-month-old baby of a New York City firefighter has tragically passed away from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), according to the FDNY Hispanic Society.

Jay-Natalie La Santa — the infant daughter of firefighter Jerel La Santa and his wife Lindsey — died on Monday from the highly contagious virus, Jose A. Prosper, president of the FDNY Hispanic Society, said in a statement on Instagram.

"One of the worst experiences as a parent is to go through the loss of a child. It is with extreme sorrow to announce the passing of Jay-Natalie La Santa (5 months) daughter of our newest member to the Department and to the FDNY Hispanic Society family, Jerel and Lindsey La Santa," he wrote.

"Called 'Warrior princess' a title given to her by her Father Jerel, for her fighting spirit against the horrible covid-19 Virus," the statement continued. "Rest in peace little one, God bless you. Please keep the La Santa family close in prayer and for peace during this difficult of times."

Credit: GoFundMe

In a GoFundMe set up for the family, little Jay-Natalie was described as "a little person with a big personality."

"Jay-Natalie La Santa was the BOSS!!!" the campaign's description reads. "She had mommy and daddy wrapped around her little finger and knew it."

Jay-Natalie loved music and "enjoyed watching bright colors, hearing mommy and daddy's voice, being kissed and hugged and most of all being rocked to sleep," according to the page.

"We call her the Warrior Princess because she fought Covid-19 like nobody's business!!!! Her fight inspired all of the nurses, doctors and staff members that knew her," the description read. "We thought we were having a baby, but had an angel instead."

The fundraiser was set up to help cover medical costs during Jay-Natalie's hospitalization. As of Thursday, it has raised $31,543 from 504 donors.

Credit: GoFundMe

Due to an "an outpouring of support" from donors, a virtual service for Jay-Natalie will be held on May 2 through Facebook Live, according to an update from the campaign's organizer.

New York has been one of the hardest hit states in the pandemic. According to a New York Times database, there have been at least 264,460 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 15,740 deaths in the state as of Thursday afternoon.

In the United States, there have been at least 852,253 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 43,587 deaths from coronavirus-related illness.

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.