THE Guardia Civil of Antequera paid tribute to their fallen colleague yesterday.

Francisco Martinez Cordero, a 57-year-old officer, became the first police official to die of the virus in Malaga province.

The veteran policeman passed away following an 11-day fight with the virus at the Regional Hospital of Antequera.

It came just minutes after his friends and colleagues paid an emotional tribute to Martinez at the doors of the hospital.

The group of traffic officers then left the hospital and completed a procession through the streets of Antequera, with sirens ringing, showing the message ‘Stay Home.’

RIP: 57-year-old officer Francisco Martinez Cordero became the first police official to die of the virus in Malaga

It was as the procession rolled through Antequera that the news came through that after 48 hours in a critical condition, the officer had passed.

Martinez’s colleague Juan Antonio Rameirez made a statement after hearing the news.

He said: “The death of a comrade whilst on duty is always hard to accept. In this case we believe it is the first case of a Guardia Civil officer to be claimed by the virus in the province.

“We express our regret to his family and to his colleagues at the Antequera Barracks.”

Martinez leaves behind a wife, two children and a newly welcomed grandchild.

His wife is currently quarantined in the Antequera barracks under the care of fellow officers to ensure she has not contracted the virus.

The death of Martinez brings the total official deaths at the Regional Hospital of Antequera to four but is expected that the rate is actually higher.

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