ROME, Ga. – Shorter University assistant basketball coach Ryan Dupree has died from COVID-related pneumonia, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday.
Shorter spokeswoman Dawn Tolbert confirmed the death of the 24-year-old who was in his first coaching job since graduating from Mississippi State University.
“We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones,” Tolbert said in a statement. “Our prayers are with them and the basketball team in this time of loss.”
Dupree died Saturday at Floyd Medical Center delivered a sobering reminder that COVID remains a serious threat. The Georgia Department of Public Health said the state set a new record for positive COVID tests last week with a daily average of 9,641, topping the previous high of 9,635 set in January.
On Facebook, friends talked about their efforts to come to grips with Dupree’s sudden death.
“Heartbroken doesn’t begin to describe it,” family friend Pam Hailey wrote. “He was 24. Strong. Healthy. Played sports his entire life. He played through college. He had just taken a job reaching his lifelong dream of being a college coach. Now he’s gone.”
Janis Krell, one of Dupree’s former teachers, called him “a wonderful young man.”
“I consider myself blessed for having him in my classroom during his senior year,” she said. “My heart goes out to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up by family friend Morgan Weidemann to help with funeral expenses.
“We rejoice knowing that there is life after death for those who have a personal relationship with Jesus,” Weidemann wrote. “We cannot wrap our earthly minds around this, but rejoicing that we have hope even in darkness. Ryan is in heaven, and we will see him again.”