An Alabama heart patient died of a "cardiac event" this month after the emergency staff at a local hospital contacted 43 other intensive care units in three states as it was unable to find him a bed amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Ray DeMonia, owner of DeMonia's Antiques and Auctions for four decades, died on September 1, just three days short of his 74th birthday, his family confirmed in an obituary obtained by NBC News.
"Ray was a great, great man, liked and respected by many," his family wrote.
DeMonia's death came as COVID-19 cases continue to surge throughout the state of Alabama, which has the lowest vaccination rate of all 50 states nation wide.
Numerous Alabama nurses have protests grueling work conditions and a Mobile doctor publicly claimed he planned to stop treating unvaccinated patients amid the surge in cases the state, NBC News reports.
DeMonia's family urged unvaccinated individuals to get their shots "in an effort to free up resources for non Covid related emergencies" in the obituary.
"He would not want any other family to go through what his did," the family wrote.
DeMonia died at Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi after staff members at Cullman Regional Medical Center -- located about an hour north of Birmingham -- contacted 43 ICUs after the hospital couldn't provide a bed amid the high number of COVID cases.
Alabama currently has one of the highest rates of new COVID-19 cases nationwide with about 541 per 100,000 people in the last seven days, which also includes 259 deaths in that span, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.