Kious Jordan Kelly was a nurse who treated patients with COVID-19 before dying of the illness himself. Kelly's sister shared her brother's heartbreaking final text messages with NBC News.
Kelly was an assistant nursing manager at Mount Sinai West, where he treated patients with the novel coronavirus. On March 17, Kelly was hospitalized after contracting the virus. He passed away last week at the age of 48.
Kelly's sister, Marya Sherron, said that her brother had severe asthma and shared some touching details about Kelly's personality.
"He just had this infectious energy," Sherron said. "You felt good when he was around, and you noticed when he left."
Sherron received her last text message from her brother on March 18. Kelly was in the intensive care unit at Mount Sinai where he was on a ventilator.
"Can't talk because I choke and can't breathe," he texted. "I love you. Going back to sleep."
She then responded, "You've pulled through so much. Love you and we are praying."
New York is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. Hospitals have been experiencing a shortage of supplies and protective gear. Sherron said she thinks her brother's death could have been prevented if it weren't for the lack of supplies in hospitals.
Mount Sinai, the hospital where Kelly worked, addressed his death in a statement and also offered condolences.
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of a beloved member of our nursing staff," the hospital said in a statement. "The safety of our staff and patients has never been of greater importance, and we are taking every precaution possible to protect everyone. But this growing crisis is not abating and has already devastated hundreds of families in New York and turned our frontline professionals into true American heroes. Today, we lost another hero — a compassionate colleague, friend, and selfless caregiver."