Funeral services were pending Thursday for Joe Radisich Sr., the retired Mary Star of the Sea High School football coach who, according to his son, had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Radisich died Wednesday night at age 84, his son, Joe Radisich Jr., told The Daily Breeze.
Radisich Jr., a former Los Angeles Harbor Commissioner, told the paper his father became ill about a week ago and already was battling a number of other health problems.
The octogenarian was admitted to Providence Little Company of Mary Hospital in San Pedro for what was believed to be pneumonia, his son told The Breeze.
Radisich Sr. was given a test for the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, which came back positive four or five days later, his son said.
“My wife and my young son talked to him yesterday (Wednesday) at about 4 (p.m.),” Radisich Jr. told the newspaper. Radisich died shortly after that, his son said.
Radisich Sr., who retired from Mary Star in 1983, is the first reported death from the virus in the South Bay and Harbor Area, according to the newspaper. He coached Mary Star for 11 years and took the team to the CIF semifinals in 1977 and the quarterfinals in his final season.
Public health officials had reported 13 deaths in Los Angeles County from the coronavirus as of Wednesday.
A host of former players hailed Radisich on Facebook, including former Chicago Bears tight end Tim Wrightman. According to the Breeze, Radisich coached Wrightman at the small Catholic school in the 1970s.
Wrightman said Radisich “didn’t just coach kids how to play football, but how to be men.”
“With it just being me and my mom, he helped me get a job working in the rectory so I could afford going to school,” he wrote. “When I as a junior, he set out on a campaign to let the football universities know about me, and by my senior year thanks to him I had numerous scholarship offers.”
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