Milwaukee mother lost only son to COVID-19 complications at 23: ‘It could happen to any of us’

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MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee mother lost her only son at the young age of 23 as a result of complications of COVID-19. Velma Zollicoffer said her son, Jaquan, died Friday, April 17. Due to social distancing restrictions that would be in place at his funeral, loved ones gathered for a vigil Monday, April 20 to honor his life.

Velma Zollicoffer said her son was kind and respectful, and she wants everyone to take the coronavirus seriously.

Jaquan Zollicoffer

Jaquan Zollicoffer

Velma Zollicoffer

Velma Zollicoffer

"Even though he's not here with me now, but his name is going to stay alive," said Velma Zollicoffer during the vigil at Smith Park near 33rd Street and Custer Avenue.

Velma Zollicoffer said her son became incredibly weak and was taken to the hospital the day after Easter. Doctors told her he tested positive for the coronavirus, and was diagnosed with diabetes.

"He was the perfect son to me," said Velma Zollicoffer.

His mother said the Groppi High School graduate had a gentle spirit -- and warned that no one is immune from COVID-19.

"My son was respectful, loving, kind," said Velma Zollicoffer. "Coronavirus isn't just for people who have asthma, diabetes, that's fat. It could happen to any of us."

It remains unclear how Jaquan may have contracted the virus.

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