WINDSOR, ONT. -- One of the youngest victims of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex is being remembered as a loving brother and son.

Over the last 24 hours, a GoFundMe page has raised more than $14,000 in the name of Weng James, identified as the man in his 20s who died of COVID-19 as announced by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) on Wednesday.

“As our family continues to mourn, we have felt the outpouring [of] support from our family members and close friends,” reads an excerpt from the page created by Nyapini James, one of Weng’s siblings.

Former Catholic Central High School basketball coach, Peter Cusumano, coached the young Weng as part of the school’s OFSSA championship team in 2013.

Cusumano was still coming to grips with the news on Thursday.

“He was the leader of the family in a lot of ways so, I don’t know how this family is going to take it,” said Cusumano.

According to the fundraising page, Weng James was admitted to Windsor Regional Hospital on Dec. 4. Just three days later, on Dec. 7, the otherwise healthy young man had died. The WECHU noted he had no underlying conditions.

“We are finding solace in the fact that our angel is now with the Lord,” read the GoFundMe page. “Weng was a loving brother, son, cousin and friend.”

Cusumano remembers a young man mature beyond his years.

The local Hall of Fame basketball coach ran summer camps and says the James brothers were regular participants. Cusumano points to Weng as an older brother who also took on a father-figure role.

“Their session would be done but, they would stay there all day and Weng made sure they got fed, made sure they got taken care of,” said Cusumano.

The James family moved from South Sudan to Calgary, Alta. before moving to Windsor.

Cusumano says Weng was a raw talent but, was eager to improve and continue playing basketball – and the team at Catholic Central was behind him.

“They rooted from him. They wanted him to do well,” said Cusumano. “The thing is you spend so much time together, you become a family, right? This is why it’s hard.”

Weng would go on to play for Niagara College and spent time at St. Clair College in Windsor.

“[His] charm and charism lit up any room he entered,” reads the post on the Go Fund Me page. “Most importantly we will all remember Weng for his big heart and gentle spirit.”

The tragic death is a grim reminder of the severity of the pandemic that has gripped the world for much of 2020.

“You need to take this serious,” said Cusumano. “This isn’t a joke. This kid was 27 years old. He was healthy. It can kill anybody.”