Calgary’s Cambodian-Laotian community is mourning the loss of 70-year-old Nouden Phon after the great-grandmother succumbed to COVID-19 Sunday.

“We thought she was just going in [to hospital] for a cold/flu/pneumonia kind-of-thing. The timeline of how fast it affected her was astronomical,” said her Toronto-based daughter Sophon Chou in an interview Thursday.

Phon had been taking the pandemic seriously. The devout Buddhist avoided the temple, staying at home and only leaving to pick up vitamins and groceries.

Her family said they believe she became infected after one of these trips.

“My mother was healthy and very active… she had no underlying health conditions and hadn’t travelled recently,” Chou said, calling the virus “vicious.”

She said it killed her mother less than two weeks after she fell ill. The virus led to several complications including cardiac arrest and a stroke, which left Phon with permanent brain damage.

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Chou said the family made the difficult decision to take Phon off life support. Under normal circumstances, they would have had more time to process what to do, but with the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to climb in Calgary,