GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - John Prince, his family said, was a scholar.
A one-time jingle writer for a large Chicago ad agency, he losthis job to the economic downturn. His thirst for knowledge broughthim back home to West Michigan. He was taking classes at GrandValley State University with an eye on a degree in social work.
Prince was a "true intellectual," said his sister, SharonSpoelhof. "Loved to debate politics. One of the smartest guys I'veever known."
Last week, Prince became sick and was diagnosed with H1N1. Likemost healthy people, he seemed to be getting better, until lastSunday, when, family members told 24 Hour News 8, he becameincoherent.
His father took Prince to the Spectrum Butterworth EmergencyRoom.
"He possibly could have picked it up at Grand Valley. Or itcould have been something he picked up at the grocery store on ashopping cart," Spoelhof said.
Family members said doctors told them Prince was fightingencephalitis brought on by the H1N1 virus.
The Grand Valley State student died Thursday night, four daysbefore his 34th birthday.
Despite their ongoing message that H1N1 is not a serious risk tomost healthy people, Prince's family said health care providersneed to get out a clearer message.
"There's not alot of knowledge out there," Spoelhof said. "Icalled my doctor, my son's doctor and they all told me a differentthing about H1N1. People need to know that this is serious. Andthat it can affect people of all age groups. Not just infants orthe elderly."
Late Friday afternoon, Kent County Health Department officialssent out a news release offering their condolences.
“We express our deepest sympathies to the victim’sfamily and friends,” Cathy Raevsky, the Administrative HealthOfficer for the Kent County Health Department, said in a statement.“This is the second time this month that influenza has causeda fatality, and this illustrates why we need to take the virusseriously. While the vast majority of people who catchthe viruswill recover fully and without complications, that’s notalways the case.”
The first victim was a 53 year-old woman with underlying healthconcerns.
Prince did not live on the Grand Valley Campus. School officialare putting out a letter to student and faculty advising them ofthe situation.
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