N.J. Police Officer & Father of Three Dies from Coronavirus at 45: 'We Have Truly Lost a Hero to All'
A New Jersey community is in mourning after an officer from the Glen Ridge Police Department passed away from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at the age of 45.
Officer Charles "Rob" Roberts had been hospitalized for about three weeks when he died on Monday at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, according to a statement from Glen Ridge Police Department Chief Sheila Byron-Lagattuta.
"Officer Roberts worked tirelessly at keeping our community safe and I can say with certainty that he was known by face or name by both children and adults alike after serving the Borough for twenty years," Byron-Lagattuta said.
Roberts, who joined the department in 2000, "held the honor of being the most senior officer within the patrol division and served as a detective and a field training officer within the department," according to the police chief.
"Rob was a mentor within the department and the entire Borough; and today we have truly lost a hero to all," Byron-Lagattuta said. "The loss of Officer Roberts has extinguished the presence of a pillar and staple within the law enforcement community and the Borough of Glen Ridge."
"Despite our loss, the ever-lit green front porch lights at headquarters will continue to serve as a beacon for those in need. Rest easy our brother in blue, you will never be forgotten and have left a permanent mark on each life you have touched. To have known you is to have loved you."
Roberts was raised in Livingston, New Jersey, before settling down in Glen Ridge with his wife Alice and their three children, his department said.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help support Roberts' family following the officer's passing. As of Tuesday evening, the campaign has raised $151,496.
"Officer Roberts was the face of the Glen Ridge Police Department and a shining example of an officer dedicated to serving the community, as well as being a devoted father and husband," the page's description read.
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It's unclear if Roberts suffered from any pre-existing medical conditions prior to contracting the virus. People ages 65 and older are at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus, as are people with underlying medical conditions, including heart conditions, obesity, diabetes, liver disease and chronic kidney disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
All but 6 percent of patients who needed hospitalization had one pre-existing condition, and the majority — 88 percent — had two or more, according to a large study of thousands of patients in New York City that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
As of May 12, there have been at least 1,354,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with 80,684 deaths from coronavirus-related illness.
Worldwide, there are now at least 4,210,074 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 287,158 deaths.
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.