RIP

Texas husbands die within two days of one another from COVID-19

Phillip and Tony Tsai-Brooks with the Mayor of Live Oak, Texas, Mary Dennis
Phillip and Tony Tsai-Brooks with the Mayor of Live Oak, Texas, Mary Dennis (Photo: City of Live Oak/Facebook)

A couple who lived in Live Oak, Texas, both passed last week from COVID-19 related causes. Both Phillip and Tony Tsai-Brooks, were active in their local community. Phillip, 42, ran his own hairdressing salon in San Antonio, while husband Tony, 47, an army veteran, was a council member.

Phillip posted to Facebook last month about being ill with COVID-19. His final Facebook posting, dated 26 March and posted from the Emergency Room of Northeast Methodist hospital, said: “Back in the er .. oxygen super low Heart rate low. Shortness breath vomiting blood pressure high fever 102.9. Update: I tested positive for corona. Be here for a couple of days.. then quarantine 14 day.”

His husband, Tony, had also fallen ill, but according to Phillip’s brothers, had been reluctant to take himself to hospital.

The couple lived with Phillip’s mom, and she later found Tony unresponsive, leading to him being rushed to the ICU and placed in a room next to Phillip.

The older woman has also tested positive for COVID-19 and is quarantining at home.

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Phillip passed on Easter Sunday in ICU from a heart attack believed to be related to COVID-19. Two days later, husband Tony also passed from the virus.

On Facebook, the local mayor, Mary M. Dennis, paid tribute to the couple.

“It is with a heavy heart and deep sadness that Live Oak City Council, administrative staff and the entire Live Oak community mourn the passing of Live Oak City Councilmember Anthony Brooks.

“Councilman Brooks joined council in 2015 and was a valued and active member. Although his job assignments would have him away, he always stayed connected to his service and commitment to our residents. He also served as a member director of the Live Oak Economic Development Corporation (EDC). He served honorably in the United States Army … Councilman Brooks will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

“In addition, the city lost another valuable member of the community. We also mourn the loss of EDC Citizen Director Phillip Tsai-Brooks. Phillip was a valued member of the city’s Economic Development Corporation and brought a unique perspective to the board. Phillip was the owner of a salon in San Antonio and worked hard to make it a successful small business.

“The void in the leadership of the council and corporation will be notable. We are forever grateful for both Anthony’s and Phillip’s service to our Live Oak Community and to our country. May God Bless their family and all who were blessed to call both men ‘friend.’”

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In an interview with Fox San Antonio, Phillip’s brothers paid tribute to both men and shared concern for their mom.

Alfred Tsai, who is based in California, said the family had to arrange for two of Phillip’s other brothers, who live in San Antonio, to stand outside of their mom’s house to inform her of Phillip and Tony’s passing.

“They couldn’t go in to comfort her,” Alfred said.

Brother Robert Tsai added, “They traveled the world, they took my mom everywhere. To see them, to see one or the other leave, it would’ve been devastating for them.”

Robert said he and his brother wanted to talk about the death of their family members as a warning to others.

“At the end of the day, there are two family members we will miss and will never get back. It’s not worth going out socializing and having that chance risking the chance of getting it.”

Texas currently has a stay-at-home order in place. At the time of writing, the state has had 18,923 confirmed cases and 477 deaths. The US has had 770,564 and over 41,000 deaths.