According to reports from The New York Times, Dr. James Mahoney worked as a physician at the University Hospital of Brooklyn and the Kings County Hospital Center. He died at age 62 after contracting the virus.
Mahoney was set to retire, but delayed his departure to help save lives in the battle against the coronavirus. Even after he contracted it, he is said to have continued to check in with other doctors on the frontlines to make sure they were doing okay.
“As a young black man, I looked at this guy and said to myself, ‘Twenty years from now I want to be like him,'” said one of Mahoney’s former students, Latif A. Salam. “When a black medical student, a black resident sees him, he sees a hero. Someone that you can be one day. … He’s our Jay-Z.”
Saundra Chisolm, Mahoney’s sister, added the following in an interview with The Guardian:
“He told that to a lot of his residents who were people of color: you’re just as smart of everyone else.” She then went on to explain that he treated everyone with the same level expect as anyone else. Once it came to his time to retire, his family thought he should play it safe and call it a day, since he would be vulnerable to the virus. But despite their worries, he put his plans for retirement on hold so that he could help coronavirus patients.
Dr. James Mahoney died of the virus on April 27, and many have since labeled him as a hero. Following his death, Mahoney’s boss, Dr. Robert F Foronjy, launched a GoFundMe to help raise money for a scholarship fund named in his honor.