State Watch

Former Nashville official who publicly doubted COVID-19 dies of virus

Former Nashville Council Member Tony Tenpenny, who shared social media posts questioning the coronavirus pandemic and the government's response, has died of complications from the virus. 

Vice Mayor Jim Shulman said on Sunday that Tenpenny was hospitalized for more than a month and was placed on a ventilator in early September. He had died overnight, the Tennessean reported

"I am always saddened when I learn of the death of a former elected official," Shulman said in a statement to the newspaper. "My thoughts and prayers are with his family as they face this loss." 

Mayor John Cooper (D) tweeted that he was "deeply saddened " to hear of Tenpenny's death and sent his condolences to his family. 

"I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former councilman Tony Tenpenny. I send my condolences to his wife, Robbie, their son Ira and the rest of the Tenpenny family," Cooper tweeted. 

Tenpenny's wife, Robbie Tenpenny, also shared the news of her husband's death on Facebook. 

"It is with a very heavy heart that I let you all know, Tony passed away yesterday. Please pray for me, our son Ira and family as we process this tragic loss," Robbie Tenpenny said in a Sunday post on Facebook, according to the Tennessean. 

Tony Tenpenny shared social media posts questioning the coronavirus pandemic and the government's response to the pandemic in the months before he died of the virus, including a post in early July calling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) "pure lying asses." 

He also shared a video from a disgraced Texas doctor who shared dangerous theories about the virus, including linking its cause to demons, which Facebook flagged as "partly false information," NBC News noted. The former council member made more than a dozen posts stating or sharing COVID-19 disinformation, NBC reported. 

Tenpenny served on the Metro Council between 2011-2015. He unsuccessfully ran for reelection last year, according to the Tennessean. 

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