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A Virginia pastor who downplayed the coronavirus on social media has died following a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

Pastor Landon Spradlin described the global pandemic as media “hysteria” and once shared a post suggesting the deadline virus was being used to smear Trump.

Spradlin died late last month after having developed pneumonia in both lungs and testing positive for COVID-19.

“I was frustrated with the way that the media was very agenda driven, and it’s on both sides,” daughter Jesse Spradlin shared with BBC News. “I feel like the coronavirus issue turned into something that was ‘party against party’ instead of one nation under God.”

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The pastor fell ill after he and his family drove from Virginia to Louisiana for Mardi Gras to “save the souls” of attendees through music.

“His mission was to go into pubs, clubs and bars, play the blues and connect with musicians and just tell them that Jesus loved them,” said Jesse.

“Mardi Gras is like Times Square in New York during New Year’s Eve. It’s a sea of people just drinking and partying,” she added. “He was loud and laughing and in his element.”

“I don’t even remember us talking about the virus,” said daughter Naomi Spradlin. “With what’s happened we keep looking back, and we didn’t talk about it once.”

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According to the report, Spradlin initially tested negative, at which time he continued to minimize the severity of the virus. As his health took a drastic turn, however, the family decided to make their way back home, but the pastor was ultimately hospitalized in North Carolina, where he received a positive diagnosis and died eight days later in ICU.

“He loved to laugh. He loved to play guitar. He played guitar even when he wasn’t supposed to,” said Jesse of her father. “He was just the best man in the world.”

Pastor Spradlin’s son, Landon Isaac, said his father was very much aware that the virus was not a hoax but he also felt the media was promoting fear due to it being an election year.

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“I want to say outright though, dad didn’t think it was a hoax, he knew it was a real virus,” said Landon.  “But he did put up that post because he was frustrated that the media was propagating fear as the main mode of communication.”

He added,  “I spoke to him five minutes before he collapsed in North Carolina. I could tell his breathing was getting bad. And I just said that you’ve got to get home. But he didn’t make it.”

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