A woman who fought against Covid-19 vaccination mandates has died from Covid-19 complications.
Kelly Ernby, the Deputy District Attorney in Orange County, California, died on Sunday, a week after she told her friend she was sick with Covid.
In a statement on Facebook, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer confirmed the 46-year-old's "sudden and unexpected" death.
"Kelly was an incredibly vibrant and passionate attorney who cared deeply about the work that we do as prosecutors – and deeply about the community we all fight so hard to protect," he wrote.
"Her enthusiasm was contagious and she invested every ounce of her enthusiasm into her work safeguarding Orange County as part of our Environmental Protection team."
Mr Spitzer did not mention how Ms Ernby died, however, several Californian news organisations and friend and fellow Republican, Ben Chapman, confirmed she died of Covid complications.
My heart is broken and I'm in tears. I lost a dear friend to Covid complications. I love you @KellyErnby ! You’ve been nothing but an inspiration to many of us here in Orange County. 🥺🙏🥺 pic.twitter.com/5WEC11uk8y
— Ben Chapman (@Chapman4CM) January 3, 2022
“I lost a dear friend to Covid complications,” Ben Chapman, chair of the Greater Costa Mesa Republicans, said on Twitter. “You’ve been nothing but an inspiration to many of us here in Orange County.”
Ms Ernby ran for state Assembly as a Republican in 2020 and lost and became active in local GOP politics, taking on leadership roles for the party’s Precinct Operations and Voter Registration committees.
The Orange County Register said Ms Ernby commented frequently on Twitter about her opposition to mandates for Covid-19 vaccines.
During a December 4 rally in Irvine against vaccine mandates, Cal State Fullerton’s Daily Titan newspaper reported Ms Ernby drew parallels between the 1960s and today, saying in both eras people faced losing freedoms to what she termed socialist ideals.
According to WABC, Ms Ernby was against vaccine mandates prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and said in 2019 mandates were a "compromise to freedom" in her opinion.
She was widely expected to run again for state office in 2022.
Ms Ernby is survived by her husband, Axel.
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