The mother of a South Carolina teacher who died from COVID-19 earlier this month is dead after contracting the same novel coronavirus, according to her family.
Shirley Bannister, 57, died early Sunday from coronavirus complications, just weeks following the death of her 28-year-old daughter Demi, News19 reported.
The matriarch, who had a history of asthma and diabetes, "got really sick about two, three days after her daughter died," Shirley's brother, Dennis Bell, told CNN.
Bell said that Shirley had "actually went to the hospital twice, the second time they decided to keep her."
"She had so much to give, so this is like an unexpected gut punch for the whole family," Bell said.
Shirley was a nursing instructor at the Midlands Technical College in Columbia, according to the school's website.
The college's president, Dr. Ronald Rhames, confirmed her death over the weekend, saying in a statement on social media, "My heart is broken. Shirley was like an angel on Earth. Her life mission was caring for others."
"While her death is devastating, her impact is everlasting," Rhames added.
Shirley is survived by her husband Dennis Bannister. Demi, her only daughter, died on Sept. 7.
Demi had just started her fifth year at Windsor Elementary School when she tested positive for coronavirus on Sept. 4. She was teaching remotely from her home but had attended a teacher preparation day at school on Aug. 28, according to officials from Richland 2 School District, the Associated Press reported.
Her coworkers at Windsor said that Bannister brought “a great deal of joy” to the school with her singing ability.
"Known as Windsor's Songbird, Ms. Bannister used her musical talents to bring a great deal of joy to our school," Denise Quickel, principal of Windsor Elementary, said in a press release, The State reported. “For our school’s Attendance Matters kickoff in 2019, she wrote a song about the importance of coming to school to the tune of ‘Old Town Road’. The song and video were a big hit with our school family.”
"She had one of the most beautiful voices," Rebecca Twitty, a fourth-grade teacher at Windsor, told WLTX. "I mean, if it was someone's birthday, her and another teacher, they would come down and serenade us a lot. She was always singing and performing."
As of Monday, there have been more than 7,164,900 cases of COVID-19 and 204,700 deaths from coronavirus-related illnesses in the United States, according to a New York Times database.
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