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OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. — Friends are mourning the death of longtime Olive Branch physician Dr. Edward Gbemudu, who died from COVID-19 while visiting his home country of Nigeria.

It’s believed Gbemudu, who was also on the staff at Baptist Hospital DeSoto, contracted the virus while attending a funeral. He was hospitalized, but he never recovered.

Dr. Edward Gbemudu

A close friend said the doctor cared deeply about his patients, and he will be missed.

“He’s a very compassionate and caring physician who takes the best medical approach to assist his patients feel better and never give up on his patients,” said Dr. Emmanuel Obi, who practices in Internal Medicine in Brownsville.

Obi spoke fondly of Gbemudu and said the doctor begin experiencing symptoms once he returned from Nigeria.

“He traveled on the 15th of December, and then on the 25th of December he started having symptoms. In less than one week, he was dead,” Obi said. “I talked to him, and he was on a 100-percent oxygen, but somehow on Thursday, on Friday January 1st, his condition just went for the worst.”

Obi said the hospital didn’t have a respirator. He arranged to get one for his good friend, but it would take two hours.

“By the time the respirator got to his hospital, he was gone,” Obi said. “It just happened so fast.”

Obi said once the virus started its deadly rampage, nothing seemed to be able to stop it.

“He had all the medical therapy that is available here in the United States,” Obi said. “He had it there, but he just did not respond. So on January 1st was when he took his last breath.”

In Olive Branch at the medical clinic where Doctor Gbemudu practiced, staff members were too upset to talk on camera. A wreath on the front door conveying their love and admiration for the doctor.

“Our hearts go out to Dr. Gbemudu’s family, friends, patients and colleagues. He was a valued member of our medical staff for several years and distinguished himself as a wonderful physician.

His death is yet another reminder of how deadly COVID-19 can be and the importance of taking the proper precautions – social distancing, wearing a mask and regular hand washing – to protect ourselves and one another from contracting it.”

Baptist Hospital DeSoto