A friend and donor to Donald Trump who the US president had said was in a coma and seriously ill after becoming infected with the coronavirus has died. Stanley I. Chera’s death Saturday was reported by The Real Deal , which covers the New York real estate industry. The publication cited unidentified sources who have worked with Crown Acquisitions, the firm Chera founded and ran. Chera was in his late 70s. A White House official on Sunday confirmed Chera’s identity and ties to the president. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details about Trump’s personal friendships. Trump had spoken at recent White House briefings about a friend who had fallen ill with the virus, which has killed more than 21,000 people in the US. Stanley Chera, titan of NYC retail, dies of coronavirus, making him the most high-profile industry casualty of the global pandemic. https://t.co/qHdLrfnd3s pic.twitter.com/9n8BMbkTlS — The Real Deal (@trdny) April 11, 2020 Trump first spoke about his friend as he described the “viciousness” of the disease on March 29. “I had a friend who went to a hospital the other day. He’s a little older, and he’s heavy, but he’s tough person,” Trump said. “And he went to the hospital, and a day later, he’s in a coma … he’s not doing well.” “The speed and the viciousness, especially if it gets the right person, it’s horrible. It’s really horrible,” he said. Media, China and WHO: as virus rages, Trump finds new targets to blame The president, who is 73, alluded next to having “friends” who were ill. “I have some friends that are unbelievably sick,” Trump said. “We thought they were going in for a mild stay. And, in one case, he’s unconscious – in a coma. And you say, ‘How did that happen?’” Trump had left the impression that having personally knowing someone who had become sick with Covid-19, the disease the virus causes, had influenced his decisions about how to handle the outbreak. But asked at a later briefing whether his friend’s case had marked a turning point in his thinking, Trump said it had not because he had been seeing the statistics and the rising case numbers. “He’s sort of central casting for what we’re talking about, and it hit him very hard,” Trump said April 1. “I’ve never seen anything like it.” Trump called out his friend and campaign donor at a 2019 rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, describing him as “one of the biggest builders and real estate people in the world”. “He’s a great guy, and he’s been with me from the beginning,” Trump said.