A healthy teenager visiting from Texas, who quickly fell ill with a staph infection along with the flu, is considered Minnesota's third flu-related fatality, the Star Tribune reported.
Cases of the flu have been surging in the last few weeks, Minnesota health officials say.
Max Schwolert, a high school senior in suburban Dallas, started feeling ill on Christmas Eve, his uncle said, the newspaper reported. Schwolert and his family had been spending the holidays with his grandparents in Amery, Wis., the Star Tribune said.
Doctors determined he had pneumonia and he was taken by medical helicopter to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, where he battled kidney failure and a toxic staph infection, among other ailments, the newspaper reported. He died after four days of fighting the illnesses.
Max’s mother, Melanie Schwolert, told the Dallas CBS affiliate that, “He looked at me and said, ‘I’m scared mom.’ He had tears and I said, ‘I am too Max,’ and he gathered himself and said, ‘It’s going to be OK, Mom. I love you.’ And that’s really the last thing he coherently said to me. Parents are supposed to be telling their kids it’s going to be OK. He was telling us it its going to be OK.”
The happy, athletic 6-foot-4 teen had hoped to attend the University of Minnesota, and his letter of acceptance from the school came several days after he died, his mother told the Dallas TV station.
Family, friends and residents of Flower Mound, Texas, are struggling with the news of the teen's death. "Love to the Max" was painted on a sign amid a memorial outside Faith Lutheran Church, where Max's father is a youth pastor, WFAA, the Dallas-Ft. Worth ABC affiliate, reported.