HIGH PRAIRIE, Alta. — The wife of a northern Alberta man who died this week of complications due to COVID-19 says he will be remembered as a loving father and someone who cared for youth in his community.
Shawn Auger, who was 34, died Monday morning in hospital after he was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus on March 16.
He is the province's youngest victim of COVID-19 to date.
His wife, 35-year-old Jennifer Auger, says the virus particularly affected him because he had asthma.
The father of three was a youth care worker at the Youth Assessment Centre in High Prairie, Alta., about 370 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.
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His wife says they were heavily involved in organizing hockey teams and they often called the kids they coached their "hockey babies."
"He hasn't left us," Jennifer Auger said Tuesday. "We gained a fighting, caring, wonderful angel and he is still working from beyond."
A statement from the Valleyview Jets hockey club asks people to place hockey sticks on their porches as a sign of solidarity with Auger's friends and family.
And a statement Monday on Facebook by Big Lakes County, a municipal district about 300 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, urged community members to get support during their grief.
"Big Lakes County is deeply saddened by the news of our first COVID-19 death," the statement said.
"We are a close-knit community, and this news will be hard for everyone."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2020
The Canadian Press