Human Interest Celebrities Who've Lost Loved Ones to Coronavirus Simu Liu, Larry Wilmore, Jhené Aiko and more who've experienced the loss of a friend or family member due to the COVID-19 pandemic By Andrea Wurzburger Updated on January 28, 2022 03:20 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Trending Videos 01 of 29 Simu Liu Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic Prior to sharing that he had tested positive for COVID-19 in January, the Shang-Chi star also revealed that he lost his grandparents to the virus in 2021. "I lost my grandparents to COVID last year. They were still waiting for their vaccines," he shared on Twitter on Jan. 28. "I'm fortunate to have been double-vaccinated and boosted when I got COVID 2 weeks ago. Felt like a cold." He followed up his tweet by mentioning how, as a UNICEF Canada ambassador, he's seen "the organization's efforts to deliver vaccines to underprivileged families around the world." "It's a reminder of how lucky we are to be living in places where vaccine delivery and storage are not an issue," he wrote before adding, "Please, PLEASE appreciate that." 02 of 29 Aaron Jones Aaron Jones. Quinn Harris/Getty The Green Bay Packers running back lost his father, Alvin Jones Sr., on April 6, 2021 to complications from COVID-19. Jones Sr. was 56. To honor the memory of his father, Jones wears Jones Sr.'s ashes around his neck in a football pendant while playing. "I thought it would be a great way to honor my father," Jones told PEOPLE in January. The athlete was able to create his special piece of jewelry thanks to grief wellness brand Eterneva. "They take hair or ashes, and they turn it into diamonds," he said. "To me, that was amazing." 03 of 29 Édgar Ramirez Frazer Harrison/WireImage The Jungle Cruise star shared the devastating news that he had lost five loved ones to COVID-19, including his grandmother, aunt and uncle, within months of each other. "My heart can't just take more pain," he wrote on Instagram on April 25, 2021. He also added that, because they all lived in his native Venezuela, where vaccines are not widely available, they had not been able to protect themselves from the disease. "It breaks my heart that so many people in this country are willing to snub the very vaccine my family would have taken in an instant," he said of people in the United States, and pleaded with fans to get their vaccines. 04 of 29 Alexia Echevarria Manny Hernandez/Getty The Real Housewives of Miami star tragically said goodbye to her mother on what was meant to be her wedding day to fiancé Todd Nepola. "The last couple of days have been a rollercoaster of emotions for me. I was on the road to marry the man of my dreams when I had to stop everything as my mother became ill," she wrote of her mom, a political refugee from Cuba. "What was supposed to be the happiest day of my life today has turned out to be the saddest." 05 of 29 Jamie Dornan Jim Dornan, Jess Dornan, Jamie Dornan. Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Dornan's father Dr. Jim Dornan died on March 15, 2021, at age 73. The renowned obstetrician and gynecologist died of COVID-19, PEOPLE confirmed. "Everyone at NIPANC was saddened to read Jess Dornan's post telling us of her father's battle against Covid," the Northern Ireland Pancreatic Center, of which Jamie was the president, said in a Instagram post. "Professor Jim Dornan is our President and a world renowned figure in the field of obstetrics. We know him for his unstinting support of NIPANC and our work to end the devastating effect of pancreatic cancer on so many families in our community" Jim also had lymphocytic leukemia, which he was diagnosed with in 2005. 06 of 29 Abigail Breslin Abigail Breslin and her father. Abigail Breslin/Instagram In late February 2021, Breslin's father died after contracting COVID-19. He was 78. The actress, who first revealed that her father Michael had tested positive for the virus on Feb. 10, shared the heartbreaking news that her father had died. "Hard to write this. Harder than I thought.. I'm in shock and devastation," she wrote at the start of a lengthy statement, alongside photos of her father from over the years. "At 6:32 PM EST , my sweet, perfect, amazing, heroic, wonderful dada passed away after my family and I said goodbye. It was COVID-19 that cut my sweet daddy's life too short," she continued. "I appreciate more than you know, the love and support my family and I have received." 07 of 29 Jo De La Rosa Jo De La Rosa/Instagram De La Rosa is mourning the loss of her father, who died in January 2021 after contracting the novel coronavirus. He was 63. The original Real Housewives of Orange County star announced the news with a heartbreaking tribute on Instagram, alongside a video montage called "The Story of Us" created to "celebrate him and remember all the happy times we shared." "It is with the heaviest of hearts I share I lost my dad to covid last week. This pandemic has been life-changing for many people and unfortunately, covid won this time," the reality star began her post. De La Rosa described her father as "the type of person that would walk into a room and instantly capture people's attention." "He was the most charming, outgoing, playful and most 'people person' of all people persons you would've ever met," she added. 08 of 29 Sloane Stephens Sloane Stephens. Michael Kovac/Getty The tennis star shared on Instagram that she lost both her grandmother and aunt after they contracted COVID in December 2021. "It has been a devastating time, and my heart goes out to everyone who has experienced loss," Stephens, whose grandfather passed away shortly after the death of her grandmother, told PEOPLE. "My family is everything to me, and we're very close. My grandparents were my no. 1 supporters in everything I do and I try every day to make them proud." 09 of 29 Larry Wilmore Stephen Lovekin/Getty The TV host and comedian paid tribute to his brother, Marc Wilmore, a TV writer for shows including The Simpsons and In Living Color, after Marc passed away in late January 2021. "My sweet sweet brother, Marc Edward Wilmore, passed away last night while battling COVID and other conditions that have had him in pain for many years," Larry wrote on Twitter alongside a photo of Marc. "My brother was the kindest, gentlest, funniest, lion of an angel I've ever known. I love you little brother." 10 of 29 Jhené Aiko Jhene Aiko. In late January 2021, the singer shared the "bittersweet" news that she was simultaneously receiving texts congratulating her on her Grammy nomination and letting her know that her uncle had lost his battle to COVID. "It was kind of an unreal moment - a very reflective moment. I was in a room that was overlooking the ocean and I was getting this really great news and this really sad news and it was like an [out of] body, surreal, bittersweet moment," she said. "it was kind of reflective of life [and] the ups and downs that come simultaneously sometimes." 11 of 29 Sunny Hostin Sunny Hostin. The View/YouTube While hosting The View, Hostin announced that she was "deeply saddened" to share the news that both of her husband's parents, Dr. Maria Jesus and Dr. A. Emmanuel Hostin, passed away from COVID-19 over the holidays last year. "COVID is devastating and while my kids and Manny's siblings, Helen and Carlos, we are in deep grief, we want everybody to know that you may think you're healthy and that you won't be impacted, but you could be an asymptomatic carrier, you could put someone you love at risk," she said, after noting she still didn't know how her in-laws had caught the viris. "So please, I beg of you, social distance, wear your mask, wash your hands. And if you get the opportunity to take this vaccine, take it." 12 of 29 The Bush Family Jenna Bush Hager/Instagram In early January 2021, it was announced that the only sister of President George H.W. Bush (and aunt to President George W. Bush) died at 94 from complications related to COVID-19. "I loved her a lot," great-niece Jenna Bush Hager (pictured here with members of her family, including dad George, mom Laura and sister Barbara) said on the Today Show. "She was such a lovely woman, and my grandpa loved her so much. ... She lived an extraordinary and long life." 13 of 29 Richard Branson Jesse Grant/Getty The billionaire shared a blog post in tribute to his 96-year-old mother, who died in January 2021 after fighting COVID-19. "Rather than mourn her loss, I wanted to celebrate her wonderful life, her tremendous spirit, the joy she brought to so many, and the love she gave us," he wrote. 14 of 29 Joe Exotic Joe Exotic. Netflix Joseph Maldonado-Passage, the disgraced former zookeeper about whom Tiger King was made, lost father Francis Schreibvogel in early January 2021 to complications from COVID-19. Maldonado-Passage, who is currently serving the first year of a 22-year prison sentence, posted to Twitter, "2021 already is showing the evil side. I just learned my Dad has passed away now also ... R.I.P. Dad, tell Mom hello, at least you are not alone anymore. I love you both." 15 of 29 Karl-Anthony Towns Karl-Anthony Towns and family. Karl-Anthony Towns/Instagram Jacqueline Towns - mother of Karl-Anthony Towns, who played for the Minnesota Timberwolves - died on April 13, 2020 after falling ill from the coronavirus, COVID-19. She was 59. "The matriarch of the Towns family, she was an incredible source of strength; a fiery, caring, and extremely loving person, who touched everyone she met," the Towns family shared in a statement. "Her passion was palpable and her energy will never be replaced." Later that year, the NBA star shared that she was just one of seven family members he lost to the coronavirus. "I've seen a lot of coffins in the last seven, eight months," the athlete said. "I have a lot of people who have, in my family and my mom's family, gotten COVID. I'm the one looking for answers still, trying to find how to keep them healthy. It's just a lot of responsibility on me to keep my family well-informed and to make all the moves necessary to keep them alive." 16 of 29 Khabib Nurmagomedov Khabib and Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. Valery Sharifulin/Getty Images Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, the father and coach of UFC reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, died of coronavirus complications, the athlete's manager confirmed on July 3, 2020. He was 57. The fighter's manager, Ali Abdelaziz, told ESPN that Abdulmanap died in Moscow, where he had been hospitalized since May. Abdulmanap was diagnosed with COVID-19 while in the hospital and later underwent heart surgery for a pre-existing condition which was exacerbated by the virus. "We've lost our backbone," Abdelaziz told the outlet. "He was a father, coach, brother, an icon. Things will never be the same without him." 17 of 29 Ilhan Omar From left: Rep. Ilhan Omar with her father, Nur Omar Mohamed, in 2018. Stephen Maturen/Getty Minnesota Rep. Omar announced on June 15, 2020, that her father had died from complications of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19. "No words can describe what he meant to me and all who knew him," she said of her dad, Nur Omar Mohamed. "My family and I ask for your respect and privacy during this time," she said. In a tweet echoing her statement, she wrote of her "tremendous sadness and pain ... to say goodbye" to her father. She also quoted the Quran: "Surely we belong to God and to Him shall we return." Other details about Mohamed's illness and death have not been released. 18 of 29 Rory Kinnear Joe Maher/WireImage The James Bond actor lost his sister to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), he revealed in a personal essay in The Guardian, published May 12, 2020. Kinnear shared that his sister Karina, who had severe brain damage after suffering from a lack of oxygen at birth, died May 10 at age 48 shortly after testing positive for coronavirus. Due to the current lockdowns, Kinnear and his family had to say their goodbyes to Karina completely virtually - a heart-wrenching moment he reflected on in the essay. "Her conditions weren't just 'underlying', they were life-defining, for her and for us, even if she remained unaware of their severity," the No Time to Die actor wrote. "But Karina had defied predictions her entire life." "No one could describe Karina as weak: she did not have it coming, she was no more disposable than anyone else," he said. "Her death was not inevitable, does not ease our burden, is not a blessing." 19 of 29 Holly Marie Combs Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic The Charmed actress condemned President Donald Trump for his early comments about the novel coronavirus following her grandfather's death from the respiratory illness. On April 27, 2020, Combs criticized the president for a tweet in which he claimed that he "never said the pandemic was a Hoax!" In her reply, the star shared that her "grandfather died today.... from Covid-19 one day after his 66th wedding anniversary." "He voted for you. He believed you when you said this virus was no worse than the flu. He believed every lie you muttered and sputtered," wrote Combs. "You're a disgrace to the human race." A White House spokesman had no comment. 20 of 29 Sebastian Telfair Alex Goodlett/Getty The former NBA player lost both his mother and older brother to COVID-19 in a span of one month. His mother Erica died on April 27, 2020 at 64, and his brother Dan died the month before on March 28, 2020, according to the NY Post. "It's been tough, but I'm just glad that they're both not suffering anymore," Telfair's half-brother Jamel Thomas told the Post in a phone interview. "Everybody's crying at home. Everybody is being safe, they're staying in. There's nothing we can do. We can't go and console each other physically. But we do have a group chat and a group FaceTime. We talk and cry through that. That's what we've been doing." Telfair paid tribute to his older brother on Instagram, writing, "😢 miss my big brother already!" 21 of 29 Riz Ahmed Riz Ahmed. Stefanie Keenan/Getty The actor opened up about losing two family members in an April 2020 British GQ interview. "Since we spoke I have lost two family members to Covid," he wrote in an April 23 WhatsApp message to the outlet. "I just want to believe their deaths and all the others aren't for nothing." "We gotta step up to reimagine a better future," the Night Of star added. Later in the interview, the Star Wars actor said that he hopes "we come out the other side of this with a bit more humanity." Ahmed said that he believes the change needed for a "fairer society" begins with individuals at home. "I used to think that when people said that change starts with ourselves it was a lazy cop-out, some yuppie yoga mantra," Ahmed said. "But actually right now the universe is saying, 'Everyone go home and think about what you've done. Think about how you're going to do things differently.'" "It's taken me six weeks of fretting and thinking about how I can be productive, how I can help fight the fight, to sit back and think, 'You know what? It starts at home,'" he added. "We have to, right now, lay the groundwork for a more compassionate society by trying to build a more compassionate inner voice. We have to try to address all the programming in our mind that tells us, 'You are what you produce,' that defines our worth in capitalist terms. We need to really look at that. And if we can learn to sit with ourselves, if we can realise how little we really need to be happy, I think that's the essential building block for us to scale that to a fairer society." 22 of 29 Elizabeth Warren Elizabeth Warren/Twitter Massachusetts Sen. Warren announced on the morning of April 23, 2020 that her older brother Don Reed had died. He was 86, according to The Boston Globe. The Globe reported that Reed, whose full name was Don Reed Herring, tested positive for the virus about three weeks prior and died in Norman, Oklahoma. In a statement, Warren, the youngest of four siblings, remembered her brother's spirit, buoyancy and strength of character. She also shared family photos of him, including one of Reed in the cockpit of a small plane. "He joined the Air Force at 19 and spent his career in the military, including five and a half years off and on in combat in Vietnam," Warren said. "He was charming and funny, a natural leader." "What made him extra special was his smile-quick and crooked, it always seemed to generate its own light, one that lit up everyone around him," she continued. In addition to his siblings and his wife, Reed is survived by his two sons, John and Jeffrey, according to the Globe. 23 of 29 Evelyn Lozada Evelyn Lozada/instagram The Basketball Wives star lost her stepfather, Larry, to coronavirus on April 6, 2020. Lozada announced the news on Instagram days later, writing in a post, "Larry, as you sit in heaven enjoying the company of God, I say thank you for the great memories & thank you for being the greatest stepfather a girl can ask for!" 24 of 29 Michael Che NBC The Saturday Night Live star revealed in a lengthy Instagram post on April 6, 2020 that his grandmother died after contracting COVID-19. "Hi. I'm Michael Che, from TV. Last night my grandmother passed away from the coronavirus," he wrote. "I'm doing ok, considering. I'm obviously very hurt and angry that she had to go through all that pain alone. But I'm also happy that she's not in pain anymore. And I also feel guilty for feeling happy. Basically the whole gamut of complex feelings everybody else has losing someone very close and special. I'm not unique. But it's still scary." Che then wrote about his frustrations with the coronavirus outbreak. "I don't know if I'll lose someone else to this virus. I don't even know if I'll be lost to this virus. Who f-- know? I shouldn't curse," he wrote. "I'm just frustrated, cause there's so much we still don't know about it." He finished his post by writing, "To anybody thats lost someone to this virus like I have, I don't have to tell you how much it hurts. But just know what we will make it through this." 25 of 29 Bevy Smith Leon Bennett/WireImage The television personality who hosted Bravo's Fashion Queens, lost her father, Gus Lee Smith, to coronavirus. He was 95 years old. Smith posted a tribute to her father on Instagram alongside his photo. She wrote, "Weeping May Endure For A Night, But JOY Cometh In The Morning - Psalms 30:5 Gus Lee Smith, Sunrise February 1925 - Sunset April 11, 2020 #MyDaddy" In another Instagram post, she wrote alongside a photo of her as a young girl with her dad, "I can't wait until I can hug my daddy like this again & I wouldn't even care that my hair looked this bad if I could get one more smile & hug!" Though there was no mention of coronavirus in either of her posts, she replied to one person's tweet about the loss of their mother-in-law saying, "I'm so sorry for your loss, as a person who has lost an elder (my Dad) to the sheer pandemonium & inadequate healthcare system of the COVID pandemic, I feel your pain!" 26 of 29 Nico Santos Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic The Superstore star revealed on Instagram that his stepdad, Sonny, died after contracting COVID-19. His mother had also been diagnosed, but has since recovered. In the heartbreaking post, Santos wrote, "My Tito Sonny passed away yesterday after losing his battle with COVID-19. He was a kind, caring man. Friendly to a fault. He always greeted strangers walking past him with a chipper 'Good Morning!' and a big smile. He had a great laugh that filled the room with joy." Santos added, "The loss of my stepfather is devastating but what has gutted me is that this pandemic has kept my family apart. We were unable to be with him during his last days. I can't hold my mother as she mourns her husband. I can't hug my brother as he contemplates a world without his father. I can't wipe away the tears from my nephews' eyes as they wonder why their Lolo Sonny isn't here anymore." Santos then thanked his followers for their offering up "prayers, love and assistance to our family during this difficult time." He added, "I hope all of you are staying safe and healthy. Rest In Peace Tito Sonny. I love you." 27 of 29 Sophia Myles Sophia Myles/Twitter The Doctor Who star documented her father Peter's hospitalization after he was quarantined for days in London due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) before his passing on March 21, 2020. Myles announced her father's death tweeting, "RIP Peter Myles. My dear Dad died only a few hours ago. It was the Corona Virus that finally took him." Myles also shared photos of her father from his hospital room, including one of their final moments together. "Yesterday I went on a journey to see my father. This is the harsh reality of the Coronavirus," she captioned a photo of herself by his bedside as she wore gloves and a face mask. 28 of 29 Adrienne Maloof Greg Doherty/Getty The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alumna announced on Instagram and Twitter that her uncle, entrepreneur Phil Maloof, passed away from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at the age of 93. "We lost my uncle, Phil Maloof to COVID-19 this past weekend," she wrote on her Twitter and Instagram. "Bless him and the extraordinary life he lived. Rest In Peace ❤️." Phil, who was the younger brother of Adrienne's late father, died on April 4, 2020 in Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "He was a great man who loved his dogs and his collection of classic cars, art, and theater pipe organs," Adrienne's brother, George J. Maloof Jr., told the outlet. "He was a bachelor, he never married. He had been stricken with coronavirus and was diabetic and had been ill of late." 29 of 29 Adam Kuperstein Adam Kuperstein/ Instagram The NBC New York anchor opened up about the devastating loss of his father, who died from coronavirus complications. In an emotional social media post, the anchor and reporter explained that his father "died with a stranger holding his hand," as he and brother were unable to be with him at the hospital due to restrictions. His mother, who had tested positive for coronavirus as well, was also absent from the hospital, as she had been "forced to stay inside their home, all alone." She has, thankfully, since recovered. "All we could do was listen on the phone (from our separate quarantines), choking back tears, as the nurse informed us 'his heart stopped,' " he wrote. "That's when our hearts broke." "We were shattered," he added. "A week of picturing the man we called 'Aba,' connected to a ventilator in an Indianapolis ICU, was bad enough, but now we were forced to imagine life without him. I couldn't. I can't."