Chicago comedian among nation's 570,000 COVID-19 victims: 'We are gutted'

Erica Watson, a Chicago native, died on Feb. 27, 2021, at the age of 48.

April 24, 2021, 9:00 AM

COVID-19 has taken the lives of more than 570,000 Americans and counting.

Those we've lost come from all backgrounds and include the very people -- first responders and medical staff -- who have been working on the front lines. But the virus has also highlighted the disparities in the U.S. -- taking a disproportionate toll on communities of color, the elderly and the poor.

Each week ABC News is spotlighting several Americans who have lost their lives to COVID-19. This week, we're highlighting a nurse, a math teacher and a comedian.

Madalyn McMahan 

Madalyn McMahan was a nurse and mentor for her colleagues at Caldwell UNC Healthcare in North Carolina -- until she became a patient.

"She loved caring for the local community,” her daughter, G’Lellier Matthews, told ABC Charlotte affiliate WSOC.

“The very people she worked with side-by-side every day were the ones who took care of her,” Matthews said.

McMahan died on Jan. 25, 2021.

“Madalyn was known by all the nursing, respiratory and medical staff as the matriarch of the night shift on the Telemetry Unit,” Rebecca Smith, chief nurse and COO at the hospital, told WSOC. "If you were fortunate enough to be called her friend, you knew she was always there for you."

Bart Pinckney

Bart Pinckney was a math teacher and coached track, basketball and football at Griffin High School in Georgia.

"Coach Pinckney was dedicated to and passionate about his work," the school said in a statement. "He was goal oriented, enjoyed helping students and influenced many lives."

"His career in Griffin Spalding County Schools spanned 13 years. Coach Pinckney served as teacher and coach at Carver Road Middle School, Spalding High School and Griffin High School," the school said.

"He will be missed terribly," the school said.

Pinckney is survived by his wife and two children, ABC Atlanta affiliate WSB reported.

Erica Watson

Erica Watson was a comedian, actress and contributor to "Windy City Live," a talk show on ABC Chicago station WLS.

The Chicago native, who appeared in the Oscar-nominated movie "Precious," died on Feb. 27, 2021, at the age of 48, WLS reported.

Windy City LIVE said, "We are gutted by her death."

Watson became friends with Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, the first Black woman to hold the position, after she was hired to tell jokes at a Foxx campaign event, The New York Times reported.

“She was very much about empowering Black women,” Foxx told the Times. “She was fighting not just for herself but for people like her.”

Click here and here to read more victims' stories.

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