By Kristina Rex

BOSTON (CBS) – The coronavirus pandemic has claimed the life of a 31-year-old Boston man, believed to be the youngest death in Massachusetts so far.

Riley Rumrill died on Sunday, March 29, at Boston Medical Center, according to his family. He had recently returned from a bucket list trip to Colombia with his brother and friends to celebrate his 31st birthday. On Saturday, March 21, he went to Boston Medical Center with a 104 degree fever and shortness of breath, according to his family.

Just a few days later on Tuesday, he was on a ventilator fighting for his life. “We never talked to him again,” his mom Diana told WBZ via FaceTime from the family home in Rainbow City, Alabama.

According to state health records released daily about COVID-19 deaths, a man in his 30s from Suffolk County – presumably Riley Rumrill – had underlying health issues. His brother Bobby told WBZ he had asthma and was believed to have kidney issues.

His brother Bobby was able to visit Boston Medical Center and see him brother on the ventilators. “Every day was frightening,” he said. “In the morning, the hospital would call telling us they were afraid he was going to lose his life.” He said he went to the hospital twice to say goodbye to his 31-year-old brother.

Riley Rumrill (Image from Rumrill family)

The Rumrills say Riley was the “bright light” of their family. The third of four boys, “he’s the one that always had everybody laughing,” his mother Diana said. “He was jolly and he’s just a good guy to be around.”

“Full of energy. He brings the light to the room. I mean, he was everybody’s best friend, which was incredible,” his brother Bobby added.

The family says it’s speaking out to warn others: COVID-19 does not discriminate. Riley Rumrill didn’t know how he got the virus, and while he did have underlying health issues, he was not in the older age bracket believed to be more harshly affected by the disease.

The Rumrills have a message for everyone nationwide: stay home. “Don’t take an unnecessary risk unless you want to be prepared to lose a loved one because this is that serious,” Bobby Rumrill said.

“This thing is a silent killer,” his father Robert added. “You don’t know if you’ve got it or not. You better stay home. It’s not worth the gallon of milk or the loaf of bread. Just stay home.”

Kristina Rex


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