While many celebrities have been diagnosed with COVID-19, few cases have been as severe as that of Broadway star Nick Cordero. Despite his relatively young age and fitness, the Broadway star suffered numerous complications after falling ill and, after more than 90 days of fighting, he eventually lost his battle on July 5 at age 41.
"God has another angel in heaven now," his wife wrote on Instagram. "My darling husband passed away this morning. He was surrounded in love by his family, singing and praying as he gently left this earth."
The severity of his illness led many to wonder whether Nick Cordero had underlying health issues contributing to his condition. However, it appears his complications and eventual death are an example of how unpredictable and serious this virus is, even to previously healthy people.
Did Nick Cordero have underlying health issues before contracting COVID-19?
It makes sense why people would want to know if Cordero had underlying health issues. The thought of a robust, 41-year-old new father fighting for his life for three months as a result of COVID-19 complications is very scary, and people likely want some evidence that what happened to Nick could not happen to them.
However, Nick's struggle — which led to multiple complications that required doctors to amputate his right leg — seemed to have occurred despite a lack of the pre-existing conditions present in many of the most severe and fatal cases.
His wife, Amanda Kloots, who provided regular updates to the public on Nick's condition since he fell ill and who announced his passing on July 5, has said her husband had no health issues before falling ill in late March. These facts are why she was so public about the numerous complications he suffered since being admitted to the hospital.
"I never thought Nick or I would get COVID and we both thought [if] we did we would be able to stay at home and recover," she wrote on June 15. "Nick is 41 years old, in shape and had no preexisting health conditions. He is going on day 75 in the ICU."
Why did Nick Cordero have his leg amputated?
One of those life-threatening complications Nick suffered is blood clotting, which doctors tried to combat with blood thinners. Unfortunately, that treatment caused internal bleeding and ultimately the lack of blood flow to his lower right leg necessitated amputation.
Nick sustained additional complications including septic shock and severe damage to his lungs. As he emerged from a coma in mid-May, the Waitress star showed positive signs that he escaped severe brain damage. Unfortunately, other health issues persisted.
A persistent lung infection and prolonged reliance on a ventilator caused many complications. Nick had minor blood infections last month according to his widow, who says the infections caused problems with blood pressure. She maintained hope for a recovery until the end.
Nobody knows for sure why some otherwise healthy people react so severely to this virus. Researchers have only known of this novel coronavirus since late 2019, so studies of its effects on different populations are still ongoing. However, there are some theories.
One avenue of research may involve sequencing the genomes of young patients who did not have underlying health conditions to determine whether they have genetic markers in common that may have led to their severe reactions. Another theory is that for some young patients, the severity of the reaction could be due not to a suppressed immune system but a hyper-reactive one.
The phenomenon is called a "cytokine storm" because it is caused when the cytokine proteins that are part of the immune system cause an overreaction to an unfamiliar pathogen, such as a virus. But in its fight to suppress the foreign invader, the immune system also attacks the lungs, which might lead to the severe damage doctors have been seeing on scans, as well as the acute respiratory distress, clotting, and other issues.