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National Guardsman Is First Service Member To Die After Testing Positive For COVID-19

Updated at 11:11 p.m. ET

A New Jersey Army National Guardsman who had tested positive for the coronavirus and been hospitalized since March 21, died Saturday, according to the Department of Defense.

The service member was identified by Gen. Joseph Lengyel, head of the National Guard Bureau, as Army Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok, a physician assistant who served in the U.S. Army Medical Command.

The death marks the first service member to have died from the coronavirus.

Hickok was not on active duty status when he fell ill, according to a statement from Lt. Col. Barbara Brown, a spokesperson for the New Jersey National Guard.

"Our thoughts are with his wife, children, and their family," she said.

"Today is a sad day for the Department of Defense as we have lost our first American service member — active, reserve or Guard — to Coronavirus," said Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in a statement. "This is a stinging loss for our military community, and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community."

There are over 1,000 cases of the coronavirus within the Defense Department community. Of those cases, 633 service members have contracted the virus, according to Stars and Stripes.

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Hannah Hagemann is a 2019 Kroc Fellow. During her fellowship, she will work at NPR's National Desk and Weekend Edition.