The wife of an unvaccinated North Carolina pastor who died from COVID-19 Friday after spending 41 days in treatment at the WakeMed Hospital in Cary said his death was "the will of the Lord."
Miracle King Wilson, whose late husband, Pastor Kermit Wilson Jr., led New Life Ministries of Greensboro, announced his death in a YouTube broadcast Wednesday. He was 43.
"It has been the will of the Lord that our shepherd, my husband Pastor Kermit Wilson Jr., has transitioned to be with the Lord. He passed away on Friday due to COVID-19. We, his family, myself, his children, his church, his immediate family, his friends, his coworkers, his neighbors have been devastated," she said.
"We are in a place of stillness and waiting at this point in time as we prepare to place … [him] in his final resting place."
An online obituary for the pastor said his widow, oldest sister and brother-in-law were "at his side praying him into Glory until his last heartbeat."
Pastor Wilson, who was originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is the youngest child and only son of Tressie Osborne, who leads Messiah's Ministries in Hollywood, Florida, according to New Life Ministries' website.
He leaves behind his wife, whom he married in December 2018, their three young children — EJ, Eden Melody, Kindle Spirit — and several other family members.
"As we walk moment by moment, the same question keeps coming up. What happens next? What are you going to do next in every regard? I can say we had plans," his widow said.
She said her husband left "huge shoes to fill in the natural and in the spirit."
"At this point in time, what I feel is a stillness. I continue to feel the spirit say just to stand. To simply stand," she said.
A memorial service for the late pastor is scheduled at New Life Ministries Church on Saturday at noon. It will also be broadcast online.
"Due to COVID safety precautions to protect Kermit's family, the in-person celebration will be limited to ceremony participants," the church said in a statement. "Guests are welcome to WALK-THROUGH the sanctuary from 11-12 to view our beloved, however, seating for the 12pm celebration will be limited to invites. Masks and hand sanitizer will be handed out upon entering the vestibule."
Average daily deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. climbed above 2,000 for the first time in six months, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed Tuesday.
While new infections from the virus have remained flat, the recent data on the seven-day average of deaths was 2,031 — an increase of 13% over a week ago and a 43% jump since the start of September. A daily death toll above 2,000 has not been recorded since March 1, CNBC reported.
COVID-19 officially became the deadliest pandemic in American history on Monday when it surpassed estimated U.S. fatalities from the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. Nearly 685,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. as of Friday.