A 17-year-old in Georgia lost both of his parents to COVID-19 four days apart.
"I know they're watching me from above," Justin Hunter told NBC affiliate WXIA of Atlanta. "They're the ones that are going to give me strength to get through all of this."
Hunter and his parents, Angie and Eugene, tested positive last month for COVID-19 — the disease caused by the coronavirus — and quarantined.
Hunter, the couple's only child, could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.
After his parents' symptoms worsened, they were admitted to Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Hunter told WXIA.
"I never really thought about them even passing," Hunter said. "That never crossed my mind."
Eugene Hunter died July 26. He was 59.
"The hospital, they called me and they had to break the news to me," Hunter said.
After his father died, Hunter said, it was even more difficult not being able to see his mother.
When he spoke with her by phone, she told him she would keep fighting to get better and return to their home, he recalled.
But four days later on July 30, Hunter received another call from the hospital. This time to inform him his mother had died. She was 57.
"When they told me I couldn't come in, to look at or see them, I was torn up," he said.
Hunter, a senior and linebacker for the Johns Creek High School football team, said he lost his parents so suddenly that he is in shock. But he said he believes they are in a better place.
"They're with God," he said. "So they're in good hands."
Their last words to each other were, "I love you." They always ended their conversations with the affirmation.
A GoFundMe campaign launched to establish a trust for Hunter has raised more than $264,000 toward a goal of $300,000.
In a statement posted to his Twitter account July 31, Hunter thanked his parents for always supporting him.
"Thank you for always giving me the strength to push myself past my limits," he wrote. "Thank you for always believing in me when nobody else would."
Hunter said in the statement that his parents will always be his biggest role models.
"I love you guys so much and will miss you so much," he wrote. "You guys will be forever carried in my heart. And from this day on everything I do is for you."