Dr. Derrick Nelson, the beloved Westfield High School principal who died Sunday night, had fallen into a coma after a bone marrow donation procedure, NJ.com reported Tuesday.
Nelson agreed to undergo the procedure to help a 14-year-old in France, according to an account in the school's newspaper.
Nelson, 44, who was named principal in 2017, had served in the district's schools for several years. He had also worked in the Plainfield and Orange schools before coming to Westfield.
He was also an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves for two decades.Nelson lapsed into a coma following the procedure in February, his father told NJ.com.
“After the procedure he did, he couldn’t speak and was lying in the bed,” Willie Nelson said. “His eyes were open and he realized who we were. But he couldn’t move. He never spoke again.”
Funeral arrangements were still being finalized early Tuesday.
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