CHICAGO — The death of a Chicago police officer who died from complications of COVID-19 will be declared an on-duty death, according to police officers.
In a tweet Friday, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that interim Supt. Charlie Beck announced the death of Marco DiFranco, 50, will be considered a line of duty death. He said the City of Chicago will honor and memorialize the 21-year veteran.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Beck made the announcement of his death Thursday morning during a press conference.
DiFranco left behind a wife, two children, ages 7 and 10, and a brother who also works as a Chicago police officer in the narcotics department. His brother is currently in isolation.
Beck said DiFranco contracted the virus last week and was hospitalized over the weekend. He died Wednesday.
“The searing loss is another reminder of the lethal danger to COVID-19 and danger it poses to our city,” Lightfoot said. “The numbers we hear every day are more than just statistics they represent our neighbors, grandparents, colleagues and friends.”
Officer Marco DiFranco, a first generation Italian American was assigned to an undercover narcotics team. His first love was his family, his second was being a Chicago cop and lastly his heritage and collection of Italian sports cars. He was one hell of a policeman. pic.twitter.com/cus4vKYIUu— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) April 2, 2020
The police veteran is the first cop in the department to lose their life to the virus. It is unknown if the officer had any underlying health conditions.
Beck said this virus impacts first responders differently, as they can not shelter in place and are on the front lines.
For CPD Commander Matt Cline, DiFranco was a close friend who he played fantasy football with.
“When someone Marco’s age gets it,” Cline said. “It hits home how dangerous this can be.”
There are roughly 14,000 members of the Chicago Police Department, and 60 of them have tested positive for coronavirus.
The Chicago Department of Public Health said it has distributed 100,000 masks and 100,000 gloves to first responders so far.
Interim Beck said they are looking to eliminate partners riding in the same vehicles when deemed safe to cut down on potential exposure.