Wife loses husband after they fought COVID-19 together

virginia and johnny burns

An undated courtesy image of Virginia and Johnny Burns.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — After fighting the coronavirus alongside his wife, a Grand Rapids man died in the hospital in the midst of his battle.

Johnny Burns, 69, died according to an announcement from his family Thursday morning. His daughter posted on social media that she was with him, posting a photo of her gloved hand holding his.

“Once again, my life as I once knew has changed,” Maggie Burns posted on Facebook. “My 1st love has gained his wings. I am grateful that I was able to be there with you as you transitioned. The staff commended me for being brave enough to come to the hospital to during the pandemic, but I couldn’t leave him alone.”

“Dad I love you,” the Burns’ son Bobby said in a written statement. “We will truly miss you. I knew you would pull through, but God had different plans. Rest peacefully.”

Burns’ wife Virginia fought COVID-19 alongside her husband. She had been on a ventilator for a time but was released from Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Hospital in Grand Rapids on March 31.

Before she was sent home, she spoke with News 8 while her husband was receiving care down the hall from her room.

“My husband is fighting for his life right now in this hospital,” Virginia Burns said at the time. “Thank God I beat it, but he’s fighting for his life right now.”

At the time of Virginia Burns’ release, Johnny Burns was on a ventilator. But loved ones said his condition was improving as he was removed from the machine and able to speak with his loved ones.

Three days before his death, the Burns’ family shared video of an online conversation they had with him from his hospital bed.

“Papa, we need you to get up and get better,” a family member could be heard saying.

“I will,” Johnny Burns responded.

Funeral arrangements had not been announced as of Thursday morning.


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