Monroe County commissioner dies of COVID-19

Monroe County Commissioner Mike Forster died on Monday morning of complications with COVID-19 after a vaccine breakthrough infection.

Rev. Tony Hammon announced on Facebook Foster died at 4:15 a.m. at Baptist Hospital in Miami-Dade County.

“Mike was one of the most amazing, caring, loving and giving humans, touching the lives of so many in the Keys and around the world,” his nephew Brian Shapiro wrote. “Mike was fearless in living his best life with purpose and passion so uniquely and authentically ‘Mangrove’ Mike.”

Forster owned the Mangrove Mike’s Cafe at 82200 Overseas Hwy., in Islamorada. Monroe County Mayor Michelle Coldiron announced on Aug. 26 that Forster had been diagnosed with COVID-19. She released a statement on Monday.

“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we have lost our beloved colleague,” Coldiron wrote. “Mike passionately gave his all to the Florida Keys. He fed everyone with food, with love, with encouragement, with positive words, and with hugs.”

Forster, who represented Monroe County’s District 5, had received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was less effective in clinical trials than the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

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This is a developing story. Local 10 News Reporters Janine Stanwood, Terrell Forney, Glenna Milberg and Assignment Desk Editor Guadalupe Monarrez contributed to this report.

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