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Friends show support for family after 39-year-old veteran from Lexington dies from COVID-19

Posted at 10:37 PM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 23:16:09-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Friends are showing support online after a 39-year-old Lexington man died from coronavirus earlier this week.

Veteran Army Sgt. Michael Keene was preparing to welcome his second child with his wife Nicole when he was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this month, said Nick Sortor, a friend who started a Gofundme page for the family.

"He did four tours in the middle east. Two tours in Afghanistan, two in Iraq," Sortor said. "Frontline combat. He was absolutely a fighter through everything he did."

A fighter, but a family man too, he said.

"I know it's a cliche, but they were absolutely a family that most would strive to be," Sortor said.

When Keene, who had no pre-existing conditions, was diagnosed with COVID-19, Sortor said he was sure he would recover. But his condition worsened, and he was admitted to the hospital. He had to be put on a ventilator.

"We were seeing a lot of improvement, and then all of a sudden, I get a phone call saying that Michael didn't make it," he said.

Just days earlier, Sortor said Keene's wife gave birth to their son prematurely. On Friday, the baby remained in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

"It's sort of a surreal experience," Sortor said. "You're almost in denial because nobody expected this at all."

As of Friday night, the online fundraiser to support the family going forward had raised nearly $30,000, with many offering condolences and prayers.

Sortor said the outpouring of support is appreciated.