By Adrienne Moore

FOLSOM (CBS13) — A Folsom State Prison employee was honored Friday after losing a month-long battle with coronavirus.

Michael Mars is the first employee to die from Folsom State Prison, where an outbreak continues to grow.

Mars was an active, healthy 54-year-old before coronavirus crippled his body, but his family says his passion for racing remained strong during his fight, right up until his last breath on Monday.

In addition to working at the prison, Mars was a motocross flagger and traveled the country to different races. His friends and family tell us the Sacramento raceway was a sanctuary of sorts, where he loved the competition and getting to know all of the racers and their families.

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On Friday, the racing community turned out in a big way to honor him. It was just last month when Mars thought he had a summer cold. The cold turned out to be pneumonia, and then he tested positive for coronavirus. He spent 28 days on a ventilator.

Due to hospital safety measures, his family was forced to say their final goodbyes over Facetime.

Mars leaves behind two children, both in their 20s. His family says they will hold a celebration of life, but given the pandemic, it won’t be for quite some time.

As for the outbreak at the prison, 129 inmates have now tested positive for the virus.

Adrienne Moore

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