Long Beach mayor says his mother, a longtime health care worker, has died of COVID-19

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Gaby O’Donnell, the mother of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, has died of COVID-19 complications, her son announced Monday. She was 61, according to the Long Beach Post.

“My brother and I are heartbroken,” Garcia said in a statement. “Our mother was the kindest and most compassionate person we’ve ever known.”

The Long Beach official first publicly revealed his mother’s diagnosis on July 13, saying that his stepfather Greg O’Donnell had tested positive as well. Greg O’Donnell remains in the hospital on a ventilator, Garcia said Monday.

Gaby O’Donnell immigrated to the U.S. from Peru “in search of the American Dream” and found it, the mayor said.

As a health care worker, she cared for thousands of patients and assisted nurses and doctors, Garcia said.

O’Donnell worked in the same clinic for 25 years “and put her own life on the line to save others when the pandemic hit,” according to L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn.

“She loved to help people and lived a happy and joyous life,” Garcia said of his mother. “She will always be our guiding light and the center of our lives.”

The mayor thanked Long Beach Memorial “for taking care of our mom during her last days.”

The city of Long Beach as of Monday has reported 163 people who have died of the coronavirus, 118 of them connected to long-term health care facilities. Nearly 7,600 have tested positive for COVID-19 and about 5,994 patients have recovered, according to the city.

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