Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., has died early Wednesday morning.
The 42-year-old Liberian man had been held in Dallas' Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital since he was first diagnosed with the illness on September 28th. Duncan drew international attention when he put a face on an illness that has already claimed more than 4,000 lives in West African this year alone.
"It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan this morning at 7:51 am," Texas Health Resources spokesman Wendell Watson relayed in a statement. "We have offered the family our support and condolences at this difficult time."
It's believed that Duncan caught the virus in his home country of Liberia while helping a critically ill neighbor into a taxi. He arrived in the U.S. on September 20th to visit his son, Karsiah, and started showing symptoms on the 24th. He first went to the Dallas hospital on September 26th but was originally sent home. He was brought back by ambulance on September 28th when he was officially diagnosed with the deadly virus.
On Saturday, Duncan was given an experimental new drug called brincidofovir that was meant to treat the Ebola. The hospital soon downgraded his condition from serious to critical, and Duncan's family said his condition was so poor, they declined to see him on a video feed.
Texas officials made it clear that no one else who has had contact with Duncan has shown any signs of Ebola at this time. Dr. David Lakey of the Texas Department of State Health Services assures Dallas residents that the staff at Texas Health Presbyterian will "continue every effort to contain the spread of the virus and protect people from this threat."