‘He left a big void in our hearts’: Family, friends remember Madison teen who died from COVID-19 complications

MADISON, Wis.– Family and friends are remembering the Madison East High School Junior, Isai Morocho, who died from COVID-19 complications over Thanksgiving break.

“He left a big void in our hearts and he will missed every day,” his aunt, Maria A. SantaCruz said. “He was (a) good young man that was loving to his parents, siblings. He was (a) very good friend to many,”

Madison East High School Principal Brendan Kearney shared a video message with students and staff on Monday.

“I’ve heard that he was funny. That he was kind. That he listened to others. That he was a great student. That he had an interest in theater and cooking, among other things. And that he was a great brother to his little sister,” Kearney said.

One of Morocho’s classmates, Amir Lee said he’s grateful for having the chance to know him.

“Isai always had a big smile on his face, which always (brightened) up the class,” Lee said. “He was just so funny and a great person to be around.”

Lee said the two shared Avid class together, where he remembers Morocho’s writing as outstanding.

“His project brought tears to our classes’ eyes when reading it,” Lee said. “Isai had a future ahead of him after high school, and it’s sad we can’t see it prevail.”

Lee added that his friend always put others before himself and had dreams of one day owning his own cafe.

It will take weeks to officially declare, but Public Health Madison and Dane County expects the 16-year-old to be the first teenager to die from COVID-19 complications in Wisconsin.

SantaCruz hopes telling her nephew’s story reaches others, regardless of circumstances.

“As family, we are just wanting the public to know to be careful because we don’t know how COVID hits,” SantaCruz said. “My nephew was a strong, healthy, young man. He had lots of hopes and dreams and we never expected something like this to happen to us.”

SantaCruz said the family was very careful when it came to COVID-19 and Morocho followed guidelines.

A GoFund Me page was set up to help family pay for funeral costs.