RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The State Department of Health reported a second coronavirus death for Pennington County.
Courtesy of Rosemarie Massey
The parents of 31-year-old William Prince speak out about their son who passed away Sunday after testing positive for the coronavirus.
A lover of bikes, a graduate of Central High School, a father of three little girls between the ages of 3 and 12, William Prince will be remembered for his smile and the nickname "Cheeks."
"They remember him with that big old grin," said Michael Massey, Prince's stepfather.
After spending 18 days in Monument Health, his family says 31-year-old Prince died from the coronavirus Sunday morning.
"It was just very difficult. It was almost like I was walking into a dream and the dream and the nightmare did not want to end. Because I just couldn't see him," Rosemarie Massey, Prince's mother, said.
A week before he went to the hospital he told his mother about some pain he was feeling in his lungs for a day.
Rosemarie said William went to a store in Hermosa and noticed a man coughing excessively and told his mother, "I'm scared, I'm really scared for myself."
However, days later he was in the emergency room.
"When Will went into the emergency room he actually had heart failure, cardiac failure in the emergency room and he was dead on the table for 11 minutes," Michael said. "And then his doctor said later on that his heart was only operating at about 10 percent."
According to the Masseys, William did not have any history of preexisting health conditions before going to the hospital.
To protect the Masseys, they were not allowed to see William in the hospital.
Instead, they said their final goodbyes by phone and on an iPad.
The Masseys said the virus does not discriminate but they say Native Americans are more susceptible to it.
"Probably hits the first nations, the aboriginal and the Native community harder because of their closeness," Rosemarie said.
Now, the family is left with a financial burden. Most hospitals say they will work with families and their insurance.
But William was a seasonal roofer just making ends meet and with no insurance.
Rosemarie said the hospital staff explained to her that she can fill out some paperwork to apply for some funding assistance to pay the medical bills.
But the family has no idea what the total will be.
"I am kind of afraid to find out," said Michael.
In the meantime, a GoFundMe was created to collect donations for funeral expenses.
The family said there is not enough work being done by the community and within politics to tackle this pandemic. Therefore, they request people to take the virus seriously and take precaution "because now I can't hug my only son anymore" Rosemarie said.
"They need to respect themselves, they need to respect others around them. They need to respect their children, their family. Just wear a mask and protect them," she said.