The Coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 55,000 people in the United States alone, and among them are the mother and stepfather of New England Patriots legend Andre Tippett as The Athletic reported earlier this week: Tippett’s stepfather, Willie Lovett, passed away last Tuesday at the age of 79 because of complications from Covid-19. Frances Tippett Lovett, Tippett’s mother, died four days later aged 79.
“I know this is going on all over the world. But someone asked me two months ago, or maybe six weeks ago, if I knew anybody that had been touched by that. And I remember saying, ‘No. But God forbid that anything like that would happen in my family.’ And I thought that nothing would happen,” Tippett said. “Next thing I know, I get the call that my step-dad is in the hospital for a heart procedure, and he ends up being tested positive.”
“And my mother was at the hospital, and now she’s feeling like she was at a sauna. And they had to keep her there. She had a heart condition as well, and on top of that, with the antibiotics and all the things they were trying to do, neither one of them could make it. They both went comatose. So it was a very tough time for us,” the 60-year-old continued when talking about his late mother and step father who were both living in New Jersey.
Willie Lovett and Frances Tippett Lovett were not the only members of the Pro Football Hall of Famer’s immediate family to be diagnosed with Covid-19: Tippett’s son Coby, who is currently part of Towson University’s football team as a defensive back, has tested positive for the virus as well. The 21-year-old, according to The Athletic’s Steve Buckley, is currently in self-quarantine after having returned home to live with his family.
The pandemic has also forced the Tippett/Lovett families to mourn without a funeral: due to the Coronavirus, they have been unable to gather after the cremation of the bodies. That said, plans are reportedly being made for a memorial service to take place in their honor at some point later during the year.
“We’ve mourned, we’re still mourning,” Tippett said. “But I’m feeling stronger because there have been so many people who’ve reached out. I’ve gotten a lot of strength just from the support. My wife and I have received so many calls from friends who have sent along their condolences and things like that. It has helped us a lot.”
Tippett is the Patriots’ Executive Director of Community Affairs and is one of the best players in franchise history. A second-round draft pick in 1982, he went on to appear in 151 regular season games and six playoff contests for New England and registered a franchise-record 101.0 combined sacks between them. Tippett was named to the Patriots’ teams of both the 1980s and the 1990s, and to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.