Kharkiv Mayor Hennadiy Kernes has died of coronavirus-related complications.
"A huge, kind heart of my best friend Hennadiy Kernes stopped beating tonight. The impact of coronavirus infection developed into serious complications, affecting the vital organs and systems of his body," businessman Pavel Fuks wrote on Telegram on December 17.
The mayor's stepson Rodion Gaisynsky has confirmed on Instagram the death of his father.
Kernes' illness: What is known
- On September 14, the ZN.UA media outlet, citing sources in the president's office, reported that Kharkiv's mayor had been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and gone into a coma.
- Kharkiv City Council officially refuted the report about Kernes being in the coma, adding that the mayor was on sick leave.
- Later, the Ukrayinska Pravda online newspaper quoted Director of Kharkiv City Council's Information and Public Relations Department Yuriy Sydorenko, who confirmed that Kernes had tested positive for coronavirus. He said the mayor's condition was critical but stable and that he remained conscious. Kernes was also diagnosed with pneumonia.
- In the early hours of September 17, Kernes was airlifted to Germany over a deteriorating health condition. He was placed in the intensive care unit of Berlin's Charité clinical center, where he was undergoing treatment for COVID-19.
- While he was abroad, Kharkiv City Council had to repeatedly deny rumors of his death.
- On November 4, Kernes was officially declared Mayor of Kharkiv. He won local elections with 60.34%, or 195,044 votes.
- On December 11, the media reported his condition had worsened. His second kidney failed and he was on dialysis.