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A US Army veteran who dismissed the coronavirus pandemic as 'hype' has died from the deadly disease aged just 37.
Richard Rose was diagnosed with the condition in Ohio, before passing away from it on 4 July.
The army vet had served nine years, completing two tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. He had posted on social media about what he believed at the time to be an overreaction by the public to the outbreak.
Back in April, he wrote a Facebook status that read: "Let's make this clear. I'm not buying a f***ing mask. I've made it this far by not buying into that damn hype."
Rose, who is not known to have any underlying health conditions, then wrote on Facebook on 1 July that he had been 'sick' for a few days, and was showing symptoms of the disease.
His diagnosis was confirmed on the same day, when he posted: "This Covid s*** sucks. I'm so out of breath just sitting here."
On 3 July, it appears that he began to realise his condition was getting worse. He shared a meme the day before he died, which was a joke asking people not to be shocked if they see him in heaven.
Nick Conley, a friend of Rose, spoke of his shock at the man's death, asking for people to show compassion for the late soldier.
Speaking to US news outlet Cleveland 19, Conley said: "We were blown away, you know? You hear about this virus and you don't expect it to affect people, younger people like ourselves."
He added: "Rick is getting slaughtered online right now for his decision that he made not to wear a mask and that's not right. We should still be compassionate whether we agree with someone's beliefs or not. Someone has passed away and we should have some compassion towards that.
"It's horrible that we lost Rick but the even more tragic part of that is who else became infected because of the actions that he chose.
"I know a lot of people that haven't met someone that they know of that has been diagnosed with the virus and I wanted people to see it was real and my hope is that people will see that this does happen and people will be more cautious."
Rose had also been open about his support for US President Donald Trump, who has come under fire in recent months for refusing to wear a mask and has been accused of downplaying the seriousness of coronavirus.
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