Duncan, the first person ever diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died at 7:51 a.m., according to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.
“He fought courageously in this battle,” the hospital said in a statement. “Our professionals, the doctors and nurses in the unit, as well as the entire Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas community, are also grieving his passing. We have offered the family our support and condolences at this difficult time.”
The Duncan family said in a statement that they are devastated by the news of his death.
“We had high hopes that Thomas would survive this scourge and we were optimistic that…delayed hospital protocols would help Thomas survive,” the family said. “We are hopeful that remedies here and and in parts of the world will be taken for those who have become inflicted with this horrible disease.”
Mawhen Jallah, the daughter of Duncan’s fiancee Louise Troh, sobbed with grief during a phone call Wednesday. “I am so sad for Eric,” she said.
Youngor Jallah, Troh’s other daughter, could be heard weeping in the background during a different phone call on Wednesday morning.
“Youngor is crying right now,” said Aaron Yah, Jallah’s husband. “She cannot talk.”
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and a family pastor went to tell Troh about Duncan’s death on Wednesday morning.
Family members gathered in Dallas were able to see Duncan on Monday at the hospital via a laptop camera in his hospital room. He was on dialysis and a respirator, according to health officials. Saymendy Lloyd, a family spokeswoman, had said that the family was told that Duncan’s liver was improving and his fever was dropping.
Duncan traveled from Liberia to the United States last month. About five days later, he began developing symptoms and sought treatment at the hospital, but he was sent home for reasons that still remain unclear.
He was brought back in an ambulance two days later and placed in isolation. On Sept. 30, he was diagnosed with Ebola. Duncan had remained in critical condition for several days and had recently been given experimental treatment.
“I’m praying for my family to be okay,” Duncan’s 19-year-old son, Eric Karsiah Duncan, said at his mother’s church Tuesday night. “I am praying that my dad makes it out safely….I hope they find a cure.”
Some of the people close to Duncan said they felt he was not properly treated because he was not American.
“He is a Liberian man,” Massa Lloyd, a close friend of Troh, said Wednesday. “The family feels he wasn’t getting the right treatment because he was an African man. They feel America is fighting only for the white man, not the black man.”
The loss was described as particularly painful because of how Duncan sought treatment but was released by the hospital.
“It’s devastating,” Princess Duo, 32, a longtime friend of Troh’s and her family. “It’s not just the fact that he’s dead. But it’s just the way in which it happened. That’s what hurts the most.”
Duncan joined a handful of other Ebola patients who have received experimental drugs during the course of the outbreak.Two U.S. missionaries infected this summer while working in West Africa were given doses of another unapproved drug, known as ZMapp, but the limited supplies of that drug were soon exhausted. An experimental medicine from a Canadian company, Tekmira, was given to another American doctor who was flown to Nebraska from West Africa for treatment