A South Carolina Republican leader who had been vocal in his opposition to vaccination and mask mandates has died from complications of COVID-19 after a month-long battle with the virus.

Pressley Stutts succumbed to the illness at Spartanburg Regional Hospital on Thursday, a week after being put on the ventilator, according to party leaders and his family. The US Navy veteran was 64.

Over the summer, Stutts led a group loyal to former President Donald Trump to force the resignation of several Greenville County Republican Party leaders after a failed bid to defeat state party chairman Drew McKissick.

Pressley Stutts (left), a South Carolina Republican leader and staunch Donald Trump supporter (pictured together, right), has died of pneumonia, kidney failure and blood clots after a month in the hospital with COVID-19

In his final Facebook post on August 13, Stutts, 64, wrote that he was going on the ventilator

Stutts, a member of the Tea Party, said he was following Trump’s wishes to kick anyone who didn’t fully support the former president out of the Republican party.

Stutts had been hospitalized with COVID-19 since late July, frequently updating his health on Facebook. His wife, Patty, was also diagnosed with the illness but has since recovered. 

In early August, he posted that COVID-19 was a serious and deadly man-made disease. The origin of the disease has not been determined by scientists.

Stutts, whose Facebook page displays photos of him posing up with Trump and MyPillow founder Mike Lindell, said everyone should take the disease seriously, but was against mask mandates and felt people should not be pressured to get the COVID-19 vaccine and should not demand others get the shots.

‘Mandates and coercions DO NOT WORK especially when they come to us from a government that has repeatedly lied to the American People time and time again,’ Stutts wrote on his Facebook page.

Stutts, a US Navy veteran, contracted COVID-19 in July. He was a vocal opponent of vaccination and mask mandates, arguing that they do not work 

Before going on the ventilator, Stutts revealed in an update that his oxygen levels were low

Stutts described his fight with COVID as ‘hell on earth’ and said he was in the battle for his life

His final post came five days before his death, when he wrote that he chose to go on a ventilator after his oxygen levels ‘dropped precipitously,’ and planned to ‘wake up from this short rest and be back in the game soon!’

‘This is my OWN decision. I trust God to keep me. I ask you to trust Him, too,’ Stutts wrote.

A day prior, Stutts described his experience as ‘hell on earth,’ saying that ‘when you have to take every single ounce just to get your next breath, you know you are in the battle for your life.’ 

Even in the middle of his hospitalization, Stutts took the time to promote the falsehood that Trump was the legitimate winner of the 2020 presidential election, writing in a post: ‘Every day in ICU, they give me a cognitive test asking me various questions as to date, where am I, etc. They always ask who the President is and I keep telling them the President is STILL Donald J. Trump! Not going to let them fool me with that poser named Joe. Nosirree!’

A closer look at Stutts’ earlier posts reveals that he attended the notorious January 6 ‘Stop the Steal’ rally in Washington DC, which later spilled into a deadly attack on the US Capitol. There is no evidence to suggest that the Navy veteran played any role in the violence.

Stutts led a group loyal to Trump to force resignation of several Greenville County GOP leaders. He is pictured left with MyPillow founder Mike Lindell, and right attending the January 6 rally in Washington DC that led to the attack on the US Capitol 

Stutts succumbed to complications associated with pneumonia, kidney failure and blood clots, reported The State. 

US Rep. William Timmons, a Republican who represents South Carolina’s 4th District, was among hundreds of people who took to Facebook to express their condolences.

‘We lost a true patriot today,’ Timmons wrote. ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.’    

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