Western Michigan University student dies of coronavirus weeks before graduation

Posted at 5:29 PM, Mar 29, 2020

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WXYZ) — Those who knew and loved Bassey Offiong are expressing heartbreak on social media after learning of his death.

According to Western Michigan University, the 25-year-old from Detroit was expected to graduate in chemical engineering just weeks from now. Tragically, the young man with no prior health issues, spent last week fighting coronavirus in the hospital before his death.

On social media, those who knew and loved Offiong, who graduated from Detroit's Renaissance High School, offer their prayers and messages of sympathy and condolences.

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of our students, Bassey Offiong," said WMU President Edward Montgomery. "Bassey was a young man of enormous potential... On behalf of the entire Bronco community, I want to extend my deepest condolences to his entire family, including his sister Asari, who has been generous in communicating with us regularly. They are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

The Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department also released this statement saying, "We are truly saddened to learn of the death of a Western Michigan University student due to COVID-19. Our thoughts are with the student’s family and WMU as they grieve the loss of a loved one. We know this student was not a Kalamazoo County resident; however, this virus has no borders when it comes to who it affects and how it is spread... Stay home and, if you must go out for essential items, stay safe by taking preventative measures.”

Bassey's death comes after the university first reported three positive cases of coronavirus heading into the weekend.

7 Action News reached out to the victim's family and has not yet received a response.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Read our daily Coronavirus Live Blog for the latest updates and news on coronavirus.

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

See all of our Helping Each Other stories.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.