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MN COVID patient seen in heart-wrenching viral photo has died

Michael Wright was from Cottage Grove.

A Minnesota man whose struggle with COVID-19 was captured in a photo that went viral last month has succumbed to the disease.

Michael Wright, a Cottage Grove resident, was pictured on the front page of the Star Tribune on Nov. 22, lying in the prone position at St. Paul's Regions Hospital as he struggled to breathe. 

The photo, which was taken by Tribune photographer Leila Navidi, spread far and wide on the internet, capturing the true toll of the disease and the vulnerability of those it hits hardest. 

On Friday, Navidi announced in a tweet (above) that Wright had died from COVID. A GoFundMe that had been set up to help his family cover medical expenses confirms that he passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 8. 

According to the GoFundMe, Wright was a veteran, husband, father and grandfather. He had a history of chronic bronchitis, which made him a high-risk patient. He developed pneumonia "among other complications" and was intubated late last month. 

The fundraising effort is seeking $25,000; so far, it has raised over $22,000.

As of this writing, Minnesota has seen nearly 4,300 deaths from coronavirus. Nationally, over 296,000 people have died from the disease.

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