EDMONTON -- Family and friends are speaking out after a 36-year-old man died from COVID-19 earlier this week.

Desmond Jarvis Brandon died from the disease in an Edmonton hospital. He had diabetes, but was otherwise healthy. He’s one of only seven people under the age of 40 to die from COVID-19 in the province so far, but his loved ones say it’s seven too many.

“When they see a small percentage point of fatalities, for them to realize that’s not just a number, those are all Desmond, those are all people who we love and are our neighbours, our family members, friends and they’re dying,” said Carl Lovestrom, a friend of Desmond’s.

“During the time he was in the hospital, he was posting constantly because he wanted people to know this is serious. This is a real issue happening to real people.”

“After that he said like he was feeling a bit better, then three days later he died alone in an isolation room. It makes me sad, and it makes me angry.”

Lovestrom said Desmond was careful to follow safety restrictions and provincial regulations, and always wore a mask.

Desmond’s mother, Priscilla Kronen, who lives in Manitoba, echoed that sentiment. She told CTV News Edmonton, when she found out Desmond was sick, she wanted to travel to the city to visit him. Desmond said no, because of the high case numbers and visitor restrictions.

“He was worried about my safety before his. That’s how Dez was,” she said.

“Two days later he’s gone. That’s how fast it took him.”

Both Priscilla and Lovestrom are calling for people to take the pandemic more seriously in hopes of saving another family the grief they’re feeling.

“I hope that stories like Desmond’s get people to turn around,” said Lovestrom.

“It might not happen until it happens to these people who don’t believe, and until it happens to their family members and their friends, and that’s really sad and that’s the last thing that I want.”

“It’s taking too many people over other people’s stupidity of not washing their hands, not sanitizing their hands, not wearing their masks,” said Priscilla.

Desmond’s body has now been returned to Manitoba, but Priscilla says because of restrictions, they won’t be able to have a normal funeral.

“We have a traditional ceremony for when we lose loved ones, and for me I can’t do that for my son. That’s what hurts the most.”

They’re both remembering Desmond as a kind, and loving young man, who was taken too soon.

“He put 100 per cent into helping people. He always put people first before him,” said Priscilla.

“If I ever needed something, he would be there to lend a hand. He was a very helpful and kind person,” said Lovestrom.

“He was talking about what he wanted to be when he was old and now he’s never going to get that.” 

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Amanda Anderson.