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Daughter says Lt. Cunningham’s love was ‘unconditional'

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Lt. Chris Cunningham died from COVID-19 complications

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hundreds of people have expressed their sadness over the death of Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Lt. Chris Cunningham.

Cunningham died from COVID-19 complications after spending weeks in a hospital. He was in the Navy and a commanding officer with JSO.

Cunningham’s eldest child, Jasmyne Haywood, told News4Jax she always knew her father was a great man and she’s happy the rest of the world knows that, too.

Friends of Cunningham said he was the kind of man that didn’t know a stranger, so it makes sense that family, friends and people that he never met waited to watch a procession pass through Jacksonville and pay their respects on Friday.

The loving act was witnessed by Haywood.

“We knew that he was well known and respected but we didn’t know to this extreme,” Haywood said. “That showed me that he really left a legacy and he really impacted everyone he came in contact with.”

Haywood carries memories of her childhood with her father in photos and in her heart.

“His love was unconditional. No matter what you did or anything like that, he still loved you regardless and he wanted the best for us,” Haywood said.

Haywood recalled one of the last times she talked to him while Cunningham was fighting COVID-19 in the hospital.

“One of the last times I talked with him, he couldn’t speak. I just kept telling him, ‘I love you,‘” she recounted. “And he would give me a thumbs up.”

There are many stories about Cunningham that show how good of a person he was before his death, but it’s those stories from his children that say so much about an amazing person who truly lived with integrity.

“Not only was he an amazing man in public but he was amazing when it came to his family,” Haywood said. “He would do anything for us.”

Cunningham’s funeral will be Aug. 15. The location for the funeral has not been released yet.


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