Memphis firefighter dies after contracting COVID-19 while recovering from cancer surgery

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 4:58 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Memphis Fire Department is grieving one of its own.

Tony Caldwell, a 17-year veteran of the department, died Monday night.

According to his family, Caldwell was recovering from surgery after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis when he contracted COVID-19. He spent about a month in the intensive care unit and was beginning to improve, they said, until taking a turn for the worse.

Caldwell’s immediate cause of death is unclear.

Fire Chief Gina Sweat remembers Caldwell as a man who loved his family, his job and sports. She said his death is felt throughout the entire fire department.

“Words cannot express the pain and sadness that we feel over the untimely passing of one of our own, Driver Tony J. Caldwell, a dedicated member of this department for over 17 years,” Sweat said in a statement on Facebook Tuesday. “Known for his love for his family, his job and sports, Tony will be remembered as an awesome individual that was always there for anyone who needed him. We extend our sincere condolences and trust that God in his infinite wisdom will comfort the hearts of his beloved family, friends and the brothers and sisters of the Memphis Fire Department.”

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