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Roosevelt sailor with coronavirus dies

A sailor from the U.S. aircraft carrier stricken with the novel coronavirus has died from complications related to COVID-19, the Navy said Monday.

The sailor from the USS Theodore Roosevelt was declared dead Monday after being taken to an intensive care unit last week, the Navy said in a statement.

The sailor’s identification is being withheld until 24 hours after next of kin is notified.

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"We mourn the loss of the sailor from USS Theodore Roosevelt who died today, and we stand alongside their family, loved ones and shipmates as they grieve," Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday said in a statement later Monday. "This is a great loss for the ship and for our Navy."

Gilday added that officials "pledge our full support to the ship and crew as they continue their fight against the coronavirus."

In a separate statement, Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Top admiral shoots back at criticism of 'woke' military | Military guns go missing | New White House strategy to battle domestic extremism Top admiral shoots back at criticism of 'woke' military: 'We are not weak' Cotton, Pentagon chief tangle over diversity training in military MORE said "the entire department is deeply saddened by the loss of our first active duty member to COVID-19."

"Our thoughts are with the family of the USS Theodore Roosevelt sailor who lost his battle with the virus today," Esper said. "We remain committed to protecting our personnel and their families while continuing to assist in defeating this outbreak." 

The sailor tested positive for the coronavirus March 30 and was in the middle of a 14-day isolation period on Naval Base Guam when he was found unresponsive during a daily medical check Thursday.

CPR was administered by fellow sailors and the onsite medical team in the isolation house before the sailor was transferred to the ICU at the U.S. Naval Hospital Guam, the Navy said.

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The coronavirus outbreak aboard the Roosevelt has turned into a political firestorm after the ship’s former commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, wrote a letter pleading for permission to offload most of the ship’s crew.

Crozier was subsequently fired by then-acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly after the letter leaked in the media. Modly himself resigned on Tuesday after fanning the flames of the controversy by traveling to Guam, where the Roosevelt is docked, and berating Crozier as “naive” or “stupid” in a speech over the ship’s PA system.

As of Sunday, 585 sailors from the Roosevelt tested positive for the virus, out of 92 percent of the crew that has been tested.

The Navy has also moved 3,967 sailors from the ship’s 4,800-person crew to shore in Guam.

Updated at 12:25 p.m.