Li Wenliang. The 34-year-old doctor, who died in February, was among the first to share information about the COVID-19 virus before the outbreak exploded across the country.
Back in December 2019, he warned his medical school classmates in an online chat group about several patients who had been hospitalized in Wuhan after being struck by a Sars-like disease.
But subsequently, Li and a handful of others who shared information about the virus, were sought by Chinese police and forced to sign a letter vowing to refrain from making any further disclosures about the new illness.
An outpouring of tributes followed the death of Li, who is survived by a son and a pregnant wife.
“In the fight against the pneumonia epidemic of the new coronavirus infection, our hospital’s ophthalmologist, Li Wenliang, was unfortunately infected. He passed away after all the efforts we’ve taken to resuscitate him. We deeply mourn his passing,” Wuhan Central Hospital (where Li died) said on its official Weibo social media account at the time.
Zhong Nanshan, an 83-year-old epidemiologist who is known for helping to fight the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003, told Reuters at the time of Li’s death: “Most people think he’s [Li] the hero of China. I’m so proud of him…He told people the truth at the end of December.”