An involved member of Houston’s LGBTQ+ community, John Buchanan, died in early September after being diagnosed with COVID-19 in late July. The 57-year-old was fully vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine but had underlying health conditions. He battled for his life in a Kingwood, Texas, hospital, according to KPRC.
Buchanan died surrounded by loved ones including his husband of eight years, Osmar Buchanan, and best friend Natalie Henshilwood. A real estate agent, former airline worker, and part-time ride-share driver who was active in Houston’s queer pageant scene, he tested positive for the virus following a trip to Kentucky.
“The last few days have been really difficult; we’ve had to make a lot of real tough decisions,” Henshilwood said about Buchanan’s illness.
While in the hospital and on oxygen, Buchanan, who had high blood pressure and was pre-diabetic, shared on social media that he feared he would die of the virus.
His final social post, from August 24, read as follows, according to KPRC:
“Well tomorrow is my birthday and I’m still in ICU. I’m ... scared have no clue if I will live or die. I lay in this bed alone crying morning noon and night. Every time something good happens two bad things happen. I don’t want to die and I feel so sad for my husband his stuck trying to do everything I did for us in the regular. I’m still being forced air to breathe. I’m truly trying not to be a baby about this but I’m losing the battle.”
He continued in that post by asking loved ones to look after his husband.
Meanwhile, a scholarship fund was set up in Buchanan’s name on GoFund Me.
“We decide to start a GoFund me to give back to all the people helping John stay alive by providing meals and letters of appreciation — the unsung medical workers,” the GoFund Me post reads. “Those that know John know he was passionate about education, so we are also going to start a scholarship fund in his name to give to someone in need. Thank you for the bottom of our hearts for believing in our mission and for praying for John.”
Buchanan’s loved ones also set up a prayer page where folks could share messages of encouragement and, later, memories of him.
“John you are very loved and will never be forgotten. You are not a friend to us, you became a part of our family from the first time. ... Thank you for always making us laugh and ensuring that I wasn’t the one making the the most inappropriate comments,” one poster wrote. “I love you Guncle! And don’t worry, we will be there for Osmar for as long as he can tolerate us. Until we meet again.”
“John was more than just a friend,” another person wrote. “I knew him in many roles, a realtor, a referral partner, a client, an investor, a fellow plumeria grower, and he and his husband; Osmar, were house and pet sitters to our three fur babies whenever we had to go out of town. My heart just aches over this. RIP, John; you sure touched a lot of lives.”