NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - A New Jersey high school principal who went into a coma after he donated bone marrow to a 14-year-old boy in France has died. Derrick Nelson was principal at Westfield High School.
In a letter to parents, Westfield Superintendent Margaret Dolan said: "Dr. Nelson touched us all with his kindness, compassion, integrity, and endlessly positive attitude. We hold him and his family in our hearts as we grieve this loss together."
Nelson underwent the donation procedure at a hospital in February. Family members say the 44-year-old couldn't speak or move afterward, and remained in that condition until he died on Sunday.
Nelson's father says it's still not clear what happened to his son, who was the father of a 6-year-old girl and was engaged to the girl's mother.
Friends say Nelson didn't know the French teen he was trying to help.
Besides his work in education, Nelson had served as an officer in the Army Reserve for more than 20 years and had recently re-enlisted.
His military service included an assignment in the Middle East.
Counseling was available at the high school on Tuesday for students. A vigil was held Wednesday evening in the town.
Rest in piece Dr. Nelson 🙏🏻😢 a true leader here at Westfield High School. You will forever be remembered for your passion and compassion for all students, athletes, staff and the community. Thank you for serving our country 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/M8eKj3nGVd— Blue Devil Bowling (@BD_Bowling) April 8, 2019
The Associated Press contributed to this report.