In Memory of lives lost to coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic’s toll is often talked about as a number, ever growing – 2,000 dead. 15,000. 50,000. 200,000. Behind each one is a story, of a life well lived or cut short, of love, of perseverance, of heartache, of dancing, of laughter, of sacrifice, of bucket lists, of generosity.

Associated Press reporters around the world are working to capture these stories in a series called “Lives Lost.” Each is told individually, often with audio remembrances and photos from family members.

They are the stories of ordinary people who have sometimes done extraordinary things, or have had a profound impact on the loved ones they left behind or the communities they helped to build. When the pandemic is over, and life returns to normal, the biggest scar will be all the lives lost.

Here are just a few of them – a virtual scrapbook of a life:

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“We would all lean on him.”

THE IMMIGRANT DOCTOR – ENGLAND

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“She had an angelic voice.”

THE FLAMBOYANT SINGER – PORTUGAL

Hannelore Cruz, 76, used to deliver a message to her grandson: Don’t let difficulties stand in the way of your goals. To prove it, she’d point to her own life. A refugee at age 5 from her native Austria after World War II, she grew up in Portugal and thrived despite the challenges of language and culture. She did it with a flamboyant style unusual in Portuguese society – and a singing voice that “lent magic” to wherever she performed.

Read more about Cruz, including her life as a singer.

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“She was that shining star in the room.”

THE QUEEN DANCER – MICHIGAN

Isaiah Kuperstein immersed himself in obscure corners of Holocaust research, shared stages with the likes of Elie Wiesel and insisted to anyone who’d listen how essential the lessons of genocide remained. He helped shape the way children were taught about the slaughter of Jews through a landmark museum exhibit. More than anything, though, the 70-year-old sought to see his Jewish heritage live on in his own family.

Read more about his efforts to educate the public about the Holocaust.

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“She lived her life like everybody should.”

THE ADVENTUROUS SURVIVOR – NEW HAMPSHIRE