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‘We lost a hero’: Veteran Boston police officer dies after battle with coronavirus

BOSTON (WHDH) - Boston police officials announced that a beloved 29-year veteran of the department passed away Tuesday at a city hospital following a “valiant and courageous” battle with coronavirus.

Officer Jose Fontanez, 53, died at Boston Medical Center after contracting the highly contagious disease, Mayor Martin J. Walsh said during a news conference at City Hall.

Fontanez joined the police force in 1991 and had served District E-13 in Jamaica Plain since 1996.

Walsh called Fontanez’s death a “devastating blow to the city” Latest East Boston News and said that he was a man who was devoted to his four children and grandchild.

“We lost a hero today to this virus,” Walsh said. “We honor him and remember him as a hero because as a police officer, he served our community and he stood in harm’s way to protect us. He made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Walsh said that Fontanez’s passing should serve as a reminder of how dangerous the coronavirus is to frontline healthcare workers, first responders, and members of the public.

On Wednesday — the seventh anniversary of the Boston Marathon terror attack — an online prayer service will be held to remember all of the lives that have been lost during the pandemic.

“I encourage anyone who is grieving or in need of comfort to join us. Press Release Distribution Service You are not alone and none of us are powerless,” Walsh said. “I ask every single person to stay home in memory of Officer Fontanez. Stay home out of respect and gratitude for the first responders and healthcare workers who are working for us, the way that he was.”

Boston Police Commissioner William G. Gross added that Fontanez was “valiant and courageous” in his fight against the virus and said that God has gained “a proud warrior in heaven.”

As of Tuesday evening, 67 Boston police officers have tested positive for coronavirus, according to Gross. Some have since recovered and returned to work.

Gross also said that police stations across the city have been thoroughly cleaned.

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