A North Texas family is mourning after the sudden loss of a nine-year-old boy who died from complications related to COVID-19.
The family of J.J. Boatman say he was known for his big bear hugs.
"He was a loving, caring little boy. Like, every time he would see you or any family member, he would run up and hug you," J.J.'s uncle, Gabriel Ayala said.
J.J. celebrated his ninth birthday just a few weeks ago with tacos and cake, according to family.
"We never knew this was going to be his last birthday," said Ayala.
Ayala says the little boy had asthma, but was still very active. He said the young boy was always playing with his cousins or older sisters.
"He was just running around and playing earlier that day, and by the nighttime he was yelling and crying to his mom that he couldn't breathe. His mom went over, and his face was blue already and his lips were blue," said Ayala.
According to his uncle, J.J. was care-flighted from his home in Vernon to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth.
By the time he arrived, his lungs were filled with fluid.
Ayala said the doctors told his mother that J.J. died from complications related to COVID-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children don't typically get as sick with COVID as adults, but it can happen.
"She didn't know that she was going to come home empty-handed without her son. It's just hard, of course. That was her baby boy. That was her only son," Ayala said.
J.J.'s uncle said he hopes people continue to take the threat of COVID seriously.
"We're going to miss his whole life. Going to miss his whole life. His life hadn't even started," said Ayala.