Gov. Whitmer gives emotional tribute to Wayne Co. Sheriff Benny Napoleon after his passing from COVID-19

Benny Napoleon
Posted at 2:19 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 14:36:23-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — During a news conference to provide COVID-19 updates in Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer gave an emotional tribute following the passing of Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

Napoleon passed away Thursday night after a 3-week battle with the coronavirus.

RELATED: Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon dies at age 65 after battle with COVID-19

Gov. Whitmer called Napoleon her "dear friend" and recalled their conversations - including calls and texts where Napoleon contacted Whitmer to encourage her on the handling of the outbreak in Michigan.

"Benny was a special person. We have lost too many people to this horrendous virus," Whitmer said.

She talked about Benny's brother who suffered from COVID-19 last spring and was hospitalized for 70 days. The family was shaken by that and Benny took the virus very seriously.

"He was very careful and he followed the protocols."

RELATED: State, local leaders react to the passing of Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon

Governor Whitmer struggled to fight back emotions when speaking about Napoleon's passing.

"In a matter of three weeks, he went from testing positive to being hospitalized to being put on a ventilator and passing away... and my heart hurts."

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