Associated Press Journalist and Avid Marathon Runner Anick Jesdanun Dies of Coronavirus at 51
The tech writer had run 83 marathons across the globe and did not have underlying health conditions, his cousin said
A journalist and avid marathon runner, Anick Jesdanun, has died following complications of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). He was 51.
Jesdanun, who went by “Nick,” was not a person who would be considered high risk for the contagious respiratory virus, his cousin Prinda Mulpramook said.
In fact, the Associated Press tech journalist was “the picture of health,” Mulpramook wrote in a Facebook post on Friday.
“I wanted to honor Nick by sharing his COVID19 story as a way to spread the word and help save lives,” she said. “Nick was the picture of health. He had no underlying health problems and would not be considered high risk by any means. This past November he ran his 83rd full marathon. In fact, he had run so many New York City Marathons (15!) he was now guaranteed entry for life.”
Mulpramook said that initially, Jesdanun wasn’t sick enough to be in the hospital after testing positive for the virus, instead staying “in his apartment in complete isolation.”
After about a week of improvement, Jesdanun went to the doctor, Mulpramook said, and “his lungs were clear, and all vitals were in good range.”
However, Jesdanun’s health took a sudden turn for the worse last Wednesday, Mulpramook said. Jesdanun ended up in the emergency room in the early hours of last Thursday morning “with some breathing issues.”
Mulpramook wrote, “13 hours later we lost him.”
Mulpramook said that out of a “range of emotions,” anger is what she is “feeling most.”
“Anger at all the people I see STILL not taking this virus seriously. All the people who think they are invincible, because they are young or healthy or arrogant,” she wrote. “What I wanted to do today was share a story of SOMEONE YOU KNOW PERSONALLY losing a family member to this virus.”
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“And it wasn’t a grandparent or even a parent. It wasn’t someone with underlying conditions. It was a brother who could literally run circles around you and me and not break a sweat. Nick had the strongest heart of any of us in the family, yet this coronavirus was able to take him away from us.”
“Please let your friends and families know — this is very REAL!!” she concluded. “And we all need to be taking the necessary precautions — not only to keep ourselves safe, but to keep EVERYONE safe. Love to all, especially Nick, who I already miss terribly. May he rest in peace.”
Risa Harms, another cousin, told the AP that running was “a life force” for Jesdanun, who ran 83 races across the globe, including Antarctica.
“He’s a doer. He’s not somebody who felt comfortable being a recreational tourist,” Harms told the outlet in its obituary. “He visited a place and wanted to have something to do there. So he did a marathon.”
The AP is planning a virtual memorial service for Jesdanun, whom the outlet credits as its first-ever internet writer.
“I feel fairly confident that there was nothing on his bucket list,” Harms added. “There was nothing he wanted to do that he didn’t have a chance to do.”
New York is currently the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, with at least 138,836 confirmed cases and 5,489 deaths related to the virus as of Tuesday.
Nationwide, there are at least 395,090 confirmed cases, with more than 12,000 deaths related to COVID-19.
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. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.