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Where EAST meets the Northwest


Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley is seen in Nashville, Tennessee. Haley says her sister-in-law, age 53, died on November 25 after contracting the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Nikki Haley says her sister-in-law died of COVID-19

By Meg Kinnard

The Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley says her sister-in-law has died after contracting the coronavirus.

Haley tweeted last Tuesday that Rhonda Lee Nelson, sister of her husband Michael, "passed the day before Thanksgiving of Covid."

According to an online obituary, Nelson, 53, lived in West Milton, Ohio, and died November 25. She was remembered as a singer and piano musician who "ministered to many inside and outside of the church."

According to Nelson’s obituary, the memorial service was held at the Shepherd’s Field Christian Church in Potsdam, Ohio.

Haley — the governor of South Carolina in late 2016 when President Donald Trump selected her as ambassador to the United Nations — provided no further details on Nelson’s death, which came as coronavirus numbers rise across the country and in states including Ohio. According to an Associated Press analysis of data provided by The COVID Tracking Project, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Ohio has risen over the past two weeks from 7,618 on November 22 to 8,656 on December 6.

One in every 193 people in Ohio tested positive for the virus in the past week.

Nelson’s obituary thanked her wide support network of family and friends "who have all showed their love for her through the years and even greater through her last days." In her tweet, Haley said her sister-in-law "loved God, her family & all who knew her. She will be missed."

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