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Cook County deputy dies of complications of COVID-19
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Cook County deputy dies of complications of COVID-19

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Virus Outbreak Illinois Daily Life

A pedestrian waits in silhouette for a Chicago Transit Authority bus as several COVID-19 public service messages are projected on screens at the bus stop Thursday in Chicago.

CHICAGO — A longtime member of the Cook County Sheriff's Office died on Sunday of complications of the coronavirus, officials announced.

Deputy Richard O'Brien, a 25-year veteran of the department who was most recently assigned to the Civil Process Division in Skokie, is the second member of the department to die after testing positive for the virus. The other was a correctional officer, Sheila Rivera, who worked in the jail, where hundreds of detainees and jail staffers have tested positive and where six detainees have died.

O'Brien chose to keep working after he was diagnosed in January with leukemia — a decision that his wife said she tried to talk him out of.

“I actually asked him not to go to work but he just couldn't not,” Cindi O'Brien told WLS-TV in Chicago last week after doctors put her husband on a ventilator. "He’s like, ‘I can’t let leukemia win.'”

In a statement released after O'Brien's death, the sheriff's office said the 53-year-old deputy “earned the respect of his peers and supervisors for always asking to be assigned to the frontline and for going the extra mile.”

According to the sheriff's department, O'Brien is survived by his wife and three children.

Gallery: Protesters circle Westville Correctional Facility

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