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Tarrant County sheriff's deputy dies of COVID-19, officials say

"He was always smiling..." the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office said about deputy William H. Gudgell.
Credit: Tarrant County Sheriff's Office/Facebook
Tarrant County sheriff's deputy William "Howard" Gudgell died of COVID-19, the department said.

TARRANT COUNTY, Texas — The Tarrant County Sheriff's Office on Friday announced the death of a longtime deputy to COVID-19.

Officials said in a Facebook post that William "Howard" Gudgell spent over 40 years of his life in law enforcement. He joined the sheriff's office in 2005, retired in 2015 and then returned in 2018, according to officials.

"He was always smiling... that's what we all remember about Deputy William 'Howard' Gudgell who lost his battle with COVID [Friday]," the department said.

Official said Gudgell was a fire marshal in South Texas before he joined the sheriff's office.

Gudgell is the latest in recent COVID-19 deaths among emergency responders throughout North Texas.

On Friday, the Plano Police Department said a 29-year veteran, Lt. Earnest Oldham, died after complications from the virus.

Earlier this week, officials in Denton County announced the death of Roland Asebado, who served as fire marshal and director of development and emergency services for the county.

A Dallas firefighter, David Leos, died on Sept. 2 and became Dallas Fire-Rescue's first coronavirus-related death. He had been hospitalized since July 17.