Wife of retired NC officer who died of COVID-19 reflects on his battle with the virus

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – More than 14,000 people in North Carolina have died from COVID-19.

The stories told by their loved ones take that statistic and put it into perspective. One of the more than 14,000 was retired Raleigh police officer Ricky Liggins.

Liggins’ wife said he was 70 years old and in good shape for his age. She said he had just finished a workout the night he went to the hospital.


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Deborah Liggins had no inkling her husband wouldn’t come home.

“I just thought he would go over, they will take care of him, and I will pick him up and come home,” she said.

Ricky Liggins didn’t know he had COVID-19 until he went to the hospital. He also had asthma.

“When he got there, he went downhill really fast,” Deborah Liggins said.


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He spent two weeks in the hospital. His family wasn’t allowed to visit and he couldn’t talk on the phone.

“Whenever he would try to speak on the phone, he’d say, ‘I can’t talk. I can’t breathe,” Liggins recalled.

Ricky Liggins died in the hospital on Nov. 4, 2020.

“It is just a struggle. It’s just the worst death imaginable,” Deborah Liggins said.

She and her husband were high school sweethearts. Their relationship began on a blind date. They were married for more than 50 years.

Liggins said she knew her husband was a good man. That was only reinforced by the stories friends told her after his passing.

“I always knew he was a good man, but even after he passed, I had more friends telling me what all he had done for them,” she said.

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