Chicago officer who died from COVID-19 complications identified as 21-year veteran

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CHICAGO — A Chicago police officer has died of complications from COVID-19.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPD Interim Supt. Charlie Beck made the announcement Thursday morning during a press conference.

50-year-old Marco Di Franco was a 21-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department and worked on the narcotics team.

He leaves 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.

Supt. Beck said Di Franco contracted the virus last week and was hospitalized over the weekend. He passed away Wednesday, April 1.

“The searing loss is another reminder of the lethal danger to COVID-19 and danger it poses to our city,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “The numbers we hear every day are more than just statistics they represent our neighbors, grandparents, colleagues and friends.”

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.

Supt. Beck said this virus impacts first responders differently, as they can not shelter in place and are on the front lines. Because of that, the department will explore whether Di Franco’s death meets the standards for a line-of-duty death classification.

For CPD Commander Matt Cline, Di Franco 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 Supt. Beck said they are looking to eliminate partners riding in the same vehicles when deemed safe to cut down on potential exposure.


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