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The Minnesota baseball community is mourning the loss of beloved umpire Eleazar "Zar" Kovalov, who died after weeks in the hospital with COVID-19. 

News of Kovalov's death has spread on social media after a GoFundMe was launched to help his family cover medical expenses. 

"It is with a heavy heart that I am letting you all know that Zar did not survive the Hospital Treatment Protocol for COVID-19. He battled the illness since Oct. 13th and only recently passed away," the GoFundMe campaign started by Tom Naeger and Joshua Maiman says. 

Kovalov is survived by his wife, Rebekah and four children, Yvi, Alex, Aaron and Savannah, the GoFundMe says. The fundraiser has raised more than $8,000 of a $15,000 goal so far. To donate, click here

"Everyone who has ever played or been on the field while he umpired has been positively impacted just by knowing him," the GoFundMe says, noting that he was a "high-level baseball player" before becoming a  "high-level umpire." 

In a Facebook post, fellow umpire John Gerards memorialized Kovalov by writing: "If you met Zar once, you'd remember him forever. Zar was a good dude."

Numerous college and amateur teams have expressed shock, sadness and condolences after learning of Kovalov's death. 

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"Very sad news as Zar was always a joy to have umpire our games for many years. Prayers for his family and BU baseball family please consider helping them," Bethel's baseball Twitter account says. 

St. Thomas baseball tweeted that "Zar was an outstanding umpire and person."

Augsburg said he "ALWAYS gave everything he had when he was on the field" and "made a positive impact on those he came in contact with." 

A memorial service for Kovalov is expected to take place after Thanksgiving. 

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