darius george

Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch Marshall's Darius George (21) drives baseline past Florida Atlantic's Michael Forrest (11) during an NCAA men’s basketball game on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, at the Cam Henderson Center in Huntington, W.Va.

HUNTINGTON — The devastation of coronavirus has hit home in the Marshall University athletics community.

Marshall men’s basketball junior Darius George lost his uncle, Ron Hill, on Tuesday, according to the social media account of Mount Vernon School in Atlanta where Hill served as head football coach.

A story in the Staunton (Virginia) News-Leader confirmed with George’s mother, Maria Harrison, that COVID-19 was to blame for his death. Hill was 63.

George posted on Facebook following his uncle’s passing.

“You don’t know how much this hurts,” George wrote.

“You were loved by so many and were a great uncle and a great Dad. ... This don’t sit right. I know you and Nana will watch over my family and I. I love you so so much.”

Marshall men’s basketball coach Dan D’Antoni said he spoke with George by text following Hill’s death.

“You just do everything you can do,” D’Antoni said. “Everything is personal. Life is short for all of us. You should never treat any life just casually.”

According to the News Leader story, George also posted a message from Hill regarding his basketball career.

“Continued success nephew,” Hill wrote. “Play with confidence. You earned the right to be there. Just another driveway battle with your uncle, lol. Be great.”

Harrison outlined the rapid downturn of Hill’s condition to News Leader reporter Patrick Hite for the story.

On March 14, Harrison had spoken to Hill, who said he wasn’t feeling well. He went to the hospital that night.

With symptoms consistent of the coronavirus, medical personnel treated him as such even before getting a positive test result back due to the nature of his symptoms. Three days after arriving at the hospital, Hill went on a ventilator.

On Saturday, his test results came back as positive for coronavirus, just three days prior to his death.

Just 10 days after going to the hospital with symptoms, Hill died.

D’Antoni said that in these times the coronavirus is not something to be taken lightly and that having someone close affected by the disease brings it to more of a reality for many.

“It’s something we all try to make the best of,” D’Antoni said. “All families go through tragedies. No family is exempt. You just wish him the best and wish him well and to be strong.”

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