(CNN) — Justin Hunter’s senior year of high school was supposed to be major. The Atlanta area star football player was looking forward to offers from courting colleges while enjoying his final season.
Now, if football resumes, it’ll be the first season he has played without his parents on the sidelines.
Justin, 17, lost both his parents within days of each other to the coronavirus. Neither of them had yet turned 60.
Eugene Hunter Jr., 59, was an accomplished smooth jazz musician who in 2015 released an album called “It’s My Time.” Angie Hunter, 57, was a human resources executive at Primerica, a multilevel marketing company that sells insurance.
The two were married for over 30 years, and Justin is their only child.
“I never really thought about losing my parents to this,” Justin told CNN.
The couple died days after testing positive
Justin said he’s not sure how they became infected. Angie took every precaution when she went out since the pandemic began — she’d wear a mask and gloves whenever she went to the grocery store and disinfected groceries before bringing them back inside.
Eugene was the first to test positive, and his condition deteriorated so rapidly that Justin could hardly believe what was happening was real. He died July 26.
His dad’s death tore him up, Justin said. He’d hardly had time to process his grief when four days later, his mother died from coronavirus complications, too.
Heartbreak turned to anger. He’d been robbed of both parents. He said he’d never thought that he could lose his family to the coronavirus, especially after the precautions they took.
“They took all the right steps to make our family safe, and even doing that, they still passed away from the virus,” he said.
“They were very loving, very caring for anybody — I mean anybody,” he said. “They were some of the best people to be around.”
Justin tested positive for the coronavirus around two weeks ago, just after his father received his results. He was asymptomatic, but seeing how quickly his family fell ill rattled him. He’s imploring people to wear masks, if not for themselves, then for people they may never know, like his parents.
“This virus is very real,” he said. “This is coming from someone who watched how it could take over a person’s body.”
It still doesn’t feel real that they’re gone, he said, but he’s softened in the days since they died.
“I just felt a lot better knowing that neither of them are struggling no more,” he said. “They’re together in heaven, partying it up with God.”
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