21-year-old college student becomes youngest person in Colorado to die from COVID-19

Coronavirus

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — A 21-year-old Aurora man has become the youngest person in Colorado to die from a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Cody Lyster died early Wednesday morning. He was a student at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.

Both of Lyster’s parents tested positive for COVID-19 and have since recovered.

Cody’s sister, Sierra Lyster, described her brother as a “fighter.”

“He’s always been there for me. He was my best friend,” she said.

Cody’s father, Kevin Lyster, is a police officer on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. He said he was looking forward to his son following a similar career path.

“One thing I looked forward to is, there’s a ceremony when you join a police department, and it’s called the pinning of the badge. This disease, this virus is horrible and it took my son,” Kevin said.

The father added that he doesn’t want any family to go through the same experience.

“Cody’s a strong individual. He’s an athlete, he’s a baseball player,” Kevin said, adding, “This virus doesn’t discriminate.”

Lea Ann Lyster, Cody’s mother, said her son was a generous person who “loved giving.”

“He had the most infectious smile. I mean, that kid’s smile just lit up a room,” she said. “He was taken from us way too soon.”

A GoFundMe campaign has been established for Lyster’s family.

CMU President Tim Foster sent the following letter Wednesday:

Dear Campus Community, 

It is with profound sadness that today CMU joins the family of former Maverick Cody Lyster as we mourn his passing from COVID-19 complications. When not on the club baseball field, Cody was pursuing a degree in criminal justice. This pursuit was a path following in his father’s footsteps.  

The professors, friends and teammates of Cody Lyster will miss him dearly.  It is a sober reminder that we must do all that is in our power to stop the virus from unnecessarily impacting more Mavericks. Each time we make the sacrifice of social distance, or carry the burden of an everyday life that is changed, let us replace the statistics and headlines with the memory of Cody. In this way we are reminded that momentary choices to contribute are not inconveniences, but are contributions to limiting grief, loss and hardship for friends, family and fellow Mavericks. The fact that Cody did not contract the virus on campus is a painful reminder that even as students remain at home, and engage remote learning, that certain risks remain for all people of all ages.  

The loss of Cody to COVID-19 is CMU’s first. His passing may not be the only grief we share together during the pandemic. Let us each take a moment today to reflect in our own way about how we can, as a campus community, work together with a common goal. Let’s renew our individual commitments to uniting against a common threat to life that we face together at this time. 

Counselors and support services are available (via tele-counseling) to students by appointment at the Student Wellness Center.  Those who wish to talk with a counselor may contact the center at 970.644.3740. Faculty and staff may access counseling through the Employee Assistance Program by contacting the Human Resources office. Information about the CMUs response to COVID19 can be found here.

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