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Family says 77-year-old woman died after being hospitalized with COVID while on Carnival Cruise

In a statement, Carnival confirmed the death of a passenger, but said they don’t think she contracted COVID-19 while on board the Vista.

GALVESTON, Texas — When Marilyn Tackett booked her cruise out of Galveston, her family says she was thrilled to be taking her first trip outside the U.S.

But they say the 77-year-old Oklahoma woman had to be hospitalized with COVID-19 when the Carnival Vista stopped in Belize.

Tackett was put on a ventilator and later airlifted from Belize to a Tulsa hospital on August 6, her granddaughter posted on a gufundme.com page. Doctors there did their best to save her but she died a week later.

“Memaw fought as long as she could," Tackett's granddaughter posted.

Carnival responds to death of passenger

In a statement, Carnival expressed sympathy for the family while stressing they don’t think she contracted COVID-19 while on board the Vista.

“The guest almost certainly did not contract COVID on our ship, and she was assisted with expert medical care on board and was ultimately evacuated from Belize after we provided a resource to her family,” the statement said. “We have continued to provide support to her family and are not going to add to their sadness by commenting further.”

The cruise line said they are taking multiple precautions to protect guests and crew from COVID, including requiring masks in indoor spaces.

“We meet the standards for a vaccinated cruise as defined by the CDC, with at least 95 percent of our guests and all of our crew being vaccinated, and then implemented additional measures, as we are now requiring vaccinated guests to present both proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test at check-in,” Carnival’s statement said. “Those few guests who cannot be vaccinated are tested twice before boarding the ship, and again at debarkation.”

Tackett's case isn't related to the positive cases among 26 crew members and one passenger on the Carnival Vista earlier this month.

The ship carries over 1,400 crew and nearly 3,000 passengers, according to Carnival.

Scroll down for full statement.

Carnival just resumed cruises in July after being docked by the pandemic.

'She fought as long as she could'

On the gofundme.com page, Marilyn Tackett’s granddaughter described her as a “strong woman of faith.”

“Memaw fought as long as she could. To know she’s reunited with lost loved ones and that she’s basking in The Lord’s presence now is a huge comfort,” the granddaughter posted. “We’ll always miss and love her and continue to keep her legacy alive. We’ll continue to walk in Faith like she taught us and try to spread love and kindness like she did.”

The family says Tackett’s health insurance didn’t cover care outside of the U.S., so they are trying to raise money for the medical bills and the cost of flying her from Belize to Tulsa.

Full Carnival statement

“Carnival has implemented a suite of protocols that are designed to flex up as needed to adapt to the changing public health situation related to COVID-19And all guests must wear masks in the indoor areas of the ship where people gather, such as dining rooms, theaters and casinos. Unfortunately, no venue on land or at sea is COVID-free right now, but we are committed to protecting the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit and have not hesitated to act quickly and go beyond existing public health guidelines.

"We are very sorry to hear about the death of a guest who sailed on Carnival Vista. Regrettably, there is a fair amount of disinformation about the circumstances of this matter. The guest almost certainly did not contract COVID on our ship, and she was assisted with expert medical care on board and was ultimately evacuated from Belize after we provided a resource to her family. We have continued to provide support to her family and are not going to add to their sadness by commenting further.”