But his mother said Monday the young student at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington was brain dead from complications from the virus, which was soon to be removed from the intensive care system.
Gilreath, from Cary, contracted COVID-19 last month, WECT was the first to report.
His mother, Tamra Demello, still tries to treat him.
“It’s such a devastating shock,” she said. “It will leave such a hole in our hearts forever that can never be filled.”
The UNCW junior was in good health and had no underlying medical issues.
Demello said she had tried over the summer to convince Gilreath to get the shot, but he was “stubborn as hell”.
She said he finally agreed to do it when he got to school.
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“It was about two weeks before he moved and he was having fun, concluding things and seeing friends,” Demello said.
A few days after arriving in Wilmington for the start of the school year, Tyler fell ill.
Tyler, who was studying computer science, never even made it to campus.
They thought he was doing better, but when Tyler started acting erratically last week, his roommates rushed him to the hospital.
Tyler regained consciousness long enough to see his family, but on Friday he was brain dead.
Tyler’s mother takes comfort in knowing that her son’s life was not wasted – his organs and tissues will help up to 80 other people.
“So at least people can live through it,” she said. “But it’s just devastating, the hole they leave in your life.”
Now she has a message for those who are hesitant: “You just don’t know how this is going to affect you personally. Even if you are strong and healthy. We just don’t know. And what is the problem? pulled, you got it, you could be sick for a day. That’s all ! Please do it! “
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