DETROIT (FOX 2) - A Detroit family of first responders is heartbroken after their 5-year-old daughter died this past weekend of rare complications from the coronavirus, becoming the first child in Michigan to die of the virus.
"She always, just, out of nowhere, say, 'Mommy, I love you.' She calls my mother Gaga; 'Gaga I love you.' She could be in the front of the house, come to the back of the house and say, 'I love you!'" Skylar's mother, Lavondria Herbert said.
Skylar's parents, who live on Detroit's northwest side, say their nightmare started a month ago. Skylar got a bad headache and a fever that wouldn't go away. She eventually tested positive for COVID-19.
Then at the beginning of April Skylar's condition took a devastating turn.
Skylar's mom says they were waiting outside the emergency room for her husband, who also had COVID-19 symptoms when Skylar suddenly had a seizure.
"This is a hurtful feeling that I don't want any other family to ever have to experience. It's devastating to our family, my mother-in-law, my niece, her aunties," said Skylar's father, Ebbie Herbert.
Skylar's parents say she then developed a form of meningitis, a rare complication of the coronavirus. She spent two weeks on a ventilator before her death, a loss that is felt across Detroit.
"This weekend we lost 5-year-old Skylar Herbert who was a real daughter of the City of Detroit. Her mom, Bonnie, is a police officer, her father, Ebbie, is a firefighter; people whose entire lives were built around building the city," Mayor Duggan said Monday at his press briefing.
Beaumont Health treated Skylar in the ICU at their Royal Oak Hospital.
"The loss of a child, at any time, under any circumstances, is a tragedy. We are heartbroken that COVID-19 has taken the life of a child. We extend our deepest sympathy to Skylar's family and all others who have lost a loved one to this virus," the hospital said in a statement.
Meanwhile, parents of Skylar's friends remember her for her smile and sense of humor.
"It's really hurting now that one of her real close friends is gone and she will never be able to see again. For somebody to be that small, she's trying to find out, trying to understand how that could happen to a kid," said Javon Willis, a family friend.
And her parents will never forget the little girl who was their whole world.
"We have to let the world know that this virus doesn't care what age, what nationality you are, what political preference you have. It's serious and it will devastate you," Ebbie said.
Skylar's parents are also calling for a vaccine to be made as quickly as possible so other families don't have go through the grief they'll carry forever.