WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s personal friend and New York real estate mogul Stanley Chera died on Saturday from complications of coronavirus, according to a source close to the Trump family.
While the president never previously mentioned the name of his “friend” who had been “in a coma” in recent weeks, a second source confirms it was Chera. He was in his late 70's
“I have some friends that are unbelievably sick. We thought they were going in for a mild stay. And, in one case, he's unconscious — in a coma. And you say, ‘How did that happen?’” Trump said at a Rose Garden news conference at the end of last month.
Trump on Monday expressed his "deepest sympathies" to Chera's family.
"Stanley was charitable, kind, and a wonderful friend," Trump said in a tweet. "He will be truly missed!
The news was first reported by The Real Deal over the weekend.
On April 1, the president said coronavirus “hit him very hard” and described him as “a very strong kind of a guy,” but added that he had complicating factors that made him more susceptible to the virus.
“He's older. He's heavier. And he's sort of central casting for what we're talking about, and it hit him very hard. I've never seen anything like it,” Trump said during one of his task force briefings.
Trump had also called Chera a “great guy” and at a campaign rally in Michigan last year praised him for supporting him “from the beginning.”
Last November, Chera introduced Trump at the NYC Veterans Day parade, noting he was the first sitting president to attend the event.
NBC News has reached out to Chera’s family but has yet to hear back.
Chera donated more than $400,000 to the Trump campaign and its fundraising entities since 2016, according to Federal Election Commission records.