Mid-South military member dies after battle with COVID-19

Mid-South military member dies after battle with COVID-19

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Mid-South family is mourning the loss of Master Sergeant Brian Tolliver.

Tolliver grew up in Memphis and died last month after a battle with COVID-19.

“Brian was a super guy. He had an 'S' on his chest,” said Michael Taylor, cousin.

WMC Action News 5 met Michael Taylor in front of the North Memphis home Master Sgt. Brian Tolliver grew up in.

Taylor says his little cousin’s super power was his super heart.

“Because I don’t care who needed anything or what Brian was the go to guy,” said Taylor.

The 46-year-old father of three served over 20 years in the Army, and was a current member of the Army Reserve Medical Command in Pinellas Park, Florida.

After a trip to Kentucky to visit his fiancé and adult children in July, he tested positive for COVID-19.

“I was thinking, ‘Hey, Brian is strong’ and that’s what the whole family was saying, ‘Brian is strong, he’s going to beat it,’” said Taylor.

According to family, Tolliver’s fever spiked and he was almost immediately hospitalized at the Largo Medical Center in Florida. He spent more than four weeks on a ventilator.

While Tolliver did appear to be the picture of health, his cousin says just three months earlier Tolliver had a quick outpatient heart procedure.

He died Aug. 17, becoming the fifth U.S. Service member to die from the virus.

“I just kind of panicked and I called a couple of friends and I said, ‘Please tell me this is somebody else. please tell me this is not real,’” said Chiquita Willis, friend.

Chiquita Willis went to Trezevant High School with Tolliver -- the Class of 1992.

She says she last spoke to him on his birthday.

Tolliver’s family has this message.

“Please take this serious. You know, me, I’m learning what he had. It’s dangerous and people are not taking it serious. But it’s very serious,” said Taylor.

Tolliver’s fiancé and young son also tested positive for COVID-19.

However, they recovered and are doing just fine.

Tolliver leaves behind three sons.

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