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'COVID is not a hoax': Guilford Co. Sheriff's Deputy dies after hospitalization for COVID-19 treatment

Dead at age 52, Master Corporal Deputy Sheriff Norman Daye's family warns the public: "COVID is not a hoax. COVID is real."

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Family members are warning people to protect themselves from coronavirus after a Guilford County Sheriff's Deputy died following hospitalization for COVID-19 treatment.

According to the sheriff's office, Master Corporal Deputy Sheriff Norman Daye died Saturday at his home in eastern Guilford County after being treated for COVID-19 in the hospital.

Family members said Daye was 52 years old and was otherwise healthy without major underlying health conditions.

He was a 16-year veteran of the Guilford County Sheriff's Office, previously serving with the Orange County NC Sheriff's Office.  

Angela Glenn Daye, who was married to him for 13 years, told WFMY News 2 that he was a happy person who was always smiling.

"He liked to have fun. He liked to dance, liked to sing, had a beautiful voice, and he loved the Lord," she said.

One of his friends, Vincent Gaddy, said Norman Daye was planning on retiring in just one year so he could spend more time enjoying his hobbies, which included working on custom cars and fishing.

"He was as committed to Guilford as he was the Orange County Sheriffs Office," Gaddy said. "He kept in contact and in good standing, he committed his life to serving the public."

According to a release from the Guilford County Sheriff's Office, Master Corporal Daye was well respected and had the heart to serve. 

"Master Corporal Daye was a dedicated and loyal lawman who had a passion to serve his community. Having served in the U.S. Marine Corps, Master Corporal Daye defined public service and patriotism. He was well respected among his peers and the law enforcement profession."

Daye's passing marks the department's second COVID-19 death. Back in October, the department lost 26-year-old LaKiya Rouse to COVID-19. 

Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers told News 2 on Sunday that losing two deputies to COVID-19 is a tragedy that has shocked him. He said Daye embodied the service mindset and always had a smile on his face.

"When I heard the news, I was sitting down, and probably a good thing I was sitting, because I was not expecting that," Rogers said. "I would love the community to pray for his family, pray for our work family."

The sheriff said he continues to remind his deputies to wear a mask, avoid touching their face, social distance, stay home if they feel ill, and wash their hands.

These preventative measures are echoed by Daye's loved ones.

"I am a nurse," Angela said. "I would like to say COVID is real. It's not a hoax. We called him 'tree'. Tree is not the only one we have lost to COVID. I would say to the people, you really need to practice safety, you need to wear your mask. It's not worth it to lose your life."

RELATED: 'I wish she was still here' | Loved ones mourn the sudden death of Guilford County Deputy LaKiya Rouse