Chicago Simeon Academy student Zmaya Bell dies of COVID complications at 18

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Saturday, March 27, 2021
Simeon Academy student Zmaya Bell dies of COVID complications at 18
Zmaya Bell was an 18-year-old straight A student at Simeon Career Academy, who died of COVID-19 complications this week.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Among the 33 people who were reported to have died from COVID-19 in Illinois Friday was an 18-year-old girl from Chicago.

Zmaya Bell died of COVID complications on Wednesday, her family said. She was a high school junior with straight As and a member of the pom-pom squad at Simeon Career Academy.

"She told me she loved me. She said she loved the family," said her mother Darica Hollins.

Hollins will never forget that conversation. Bell was seriously ill and would die from COVID-19 just days later. As her condition worsened earlier this week, they had one last text exchange.

"I said, 'Don't you leave me.' She said, 'I won't.' And that was it," she recalled.

Bell was a passionate student, well on her way to following her dreams. Her personality shone bright.

"She loved to dance," Hollins said. "She was on the pom-pom team at Simeon. She loved to dance, I mean every day."

Bells' older sister Zipporah is heartbroken to lose her younger sibling.

"There was nothing more she cared about but her family and her future," she said. "So it's like, I really don't know what to say."

Her mother remembered a talk they had before Bell went to high school.

"I can't wait for my future. I want to travel. I want to build a business with you. She just loved to talk about her future. She was ready for the future," said Hollins.

Zmaya Bell is survived by four siblings and her mother.

RELATED: Illinois expands vaccination effort as COVID cases rise

The state's public health officials reported 3,002 new COVID-19 cases and 33 deaths Friday.