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A second queer man has died from coronavirus after attending the notorious Miami beach Winter Party

Lily Wakefield April 1, 2020
Miami Winter Party Ron Rich

Ron Rich was a prominent figure in the local LGBT+ community. (Ron Rich/ Facebook)

A second queer man has died after contracting coronavirus at the annual LGBT+ fundraiser Winter Party Festival, in Miami, Florida.

The event took place from March 4 to 10, packed with more than 10,000 queer attendees.

Shortly after the event, organisers took to Instagram to confirm that an attendee was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Multiple people who had been at the party later posted on social media confirming that they, or someone they knew who had also attended, had been diagnosed.

The first death from coronavirus of a Miami Winter Party attendee was confirmed last week when Israel Carreras, 40, who had no prior health conditions, passed away.

Over the weekend, a second person has died after contracting the virus at the festival.

Ron Rich, 65, who lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was a musician and formerly a high school band director.

He was also a prominent figure in the local LGBT+ community, volunteering for Outshine Film Festival, Lambda Legal and the National LGBTQ Task Force.

The National LGBTQ Task Force wrote on Facebook on Tuesday, March 31, that it was “mourning the passing of a loyal volunteer, Ron Rich, who succumbed to COVID-19 over the weekend”.

It continued: “Ron was a familiar face to the guests who attended the Task Force Gala, Winter Party Festival and our Fort Lauderdale house parties over the past five years as his big smile and warmth had him mostly serving on our hospitality team… He will be missed.

“We extend our condolences to his family and friends.”

His friends took to social media to express their grief after his death.

Onre Soto wrote: “I’m heartbroken by the news I got last night… My best friend Ron Rich passing Saturday night.

He was truly honest [and] sincere… We [are] all grieving for his family. I will miss you forever, until we meet again.”

Another friend, Theo Vernon, wrote: “I am devastated this morning. My good friend Ron Rich has passed away due to the COVID-19 virus.

“I student taught at Grissom under him and worked with him my first year teaching at Grissom high school in 1985. He was an amazing mentor, musician and we became great friends.”

Israel Carreras passed away last week after attend the Winter Party.

Israel Carreras, 40, who had no prior health conditions, was the first person to pass away after contracting coronavirus at the Winter Party.

Carreras’ partner, Franco Conquista, told WSVN: “He started to feel sick after the event. We went together.

“I went to his place, taking care of him for two days, and I also had it. He couldn’t breathe, so he wanted to go to the hospital, and then, he was at the hospital for four or five days.

“Then, they put him to sleep because he was really agitated, and then, he never woke up again.”

Conquista added that he was currently at home in isolation, grieving his partner, and called for others to stay at home.

He said: “This poor boy was only 40 years old. It can kill anybody, so just stay home and think of other people.”

More: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Israel Carreras, Miami Winter Party, ron rich

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