5-year-old daughter of Detroit first responders dies after being diagnosed with coronavirus

Skylar Herbert

(CNN) — The 5-year-old daughter of two Detroit first responders has died of complications from coronavirus.

Skylar Herbert died Sunday at Beaumont Royal Oak Hospital after being on a ventilator for two weeks, CNN affiliate WXYZ reported. She tested positive for coronavirus last month and developed a rare form of meningitis and swelling on the brain, according to WXYZ.

“The loss of a child, at any time, under any circumstances, is a tragedy,” Beaumont Hospital said in a statement obtained by WXYZ. “We are heartbroken that COVID-19 has taken the life of a child. We extend our deepest sympathy to Skylar’s family and all others who have lost a loved one to this virus.”

Skylar’s mother has been a Detroit Police officer for 25 years and her father has worked as a firefighter with the Detroit Fire Department for 18 years, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said during a Monday news conference.

“They’ve been on the frontline and they’ve served with honor and integrity and they did not deserve to lose their child to this virus,” Whitmer said. “Nobody does.”
Detroit has been hit hard by the virus, with at least 7,736 people testing positive and 641 deaths, according to the Michigan Health Department website.

Those who have died have ranged in age from 5 to 107 years old, according to the website.
Last week, Mayor Mike Duggan told CNN’s Poppy Harlow that the city is working to expand testing among its fire and police departments after at least 600 officers had to be quarantined due to possible exposure to the virus.

Skylar’s mother LaVondria Herbert told WXYZ that her daughter was beautiful, happy and full of life before falling ill.
“She was a beautiful spirit, she was friendly, she was loving, she was caring, she was funny. Just a happy 5-year-old,” Herbert said. “She was a beautiful little girl. She lived her life, she lived her 5 years. You knew she lived a great life in those 5 years.”

Although Herbert and her husband Ebbie Herbert are grieving, they say Skylar’s battle with the deadly virus should serve as a warning to others.

“This is a hurtful feeling that I don’t want any other family to have to experience,” Ebbie Herbert told WXYZ.
“This virus doesn’t care what age you are what nationality you are, what political preference you have. It’s serious and it will devastate you,” Ebbie Herbert told the news station. “Skylar is shining her light to tell the world this can happen to any family.”