*A college professor in Argentina who had been battling COVID-related symptoms collapsed and died during a virtual lecture in front of class.
Paola De Simone, 46, taught 20th-century world history at Universidad Argentina de la Empresa in Buenos Aries. According to reports, moments before her death, she complained about having trouble breathing during the Zoom session on Wednesday (Sept. 2), the Sun reports.
One of her students described the professor’s last moments.
“She began by saying that she had pneumonia, we saw it was worse than in previous classes,” said Ana Breccia. “At one point she could not continue passing slides, nor speak and she became unbalanced.”
She then collapsed to the floor. De Simone’s husband, a doctor, discovered her lifeless body when he came home.
— New York Post (@nypost) September 7, 2020
Days before her death, she detailed her health struggle on Twitter.
“It is very complicated. I have been here [with the virus] for more than four weeks and the symptoms do not go away,” De Simone wrote, according to the Sun. “My husband is exhausted from working so much at the moment.”
The Universidad Argentina de la Empresa said in a statement that the institution is in “deep pain” over her death.
“Paola was a passionate and dedicated teacher, and a great person, with more [than] fifteen years of experience,” it said.
Journalist Silvina Sterin Pensel, a former classmate with De Simone at Universidad del Salvador, described her friend as a “brainy, brilliant” who “had a bright future ahead in teaching or in any endeavor she set her mind to,” she told the Washington Post. “She was already displaying this critical thinking you find more in a professor than in a student.”
Michelle Denise Bolo — who took De Simone’s economics class at the Universidad de Buenos Aires in 2017 —said she “managed to show herself and talk about her life and her passions and her other jobs. She was very personal but also super professional.”
Bolo added, “There are teachers that are sometimes unapproachable — she was nothing like that.”
In addition to her husband, the professor is also survived by a daughter.
More than 450,000 COVID-19 cases (and over 9,000 deaths) have been reported in Argentina, according to Johns Hopkins University.