Mercia Bowser, the older and only sister of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, died Wednesday morning of coronavirus-related complications, the mayor announced in a statement. She was 64.
Bowser died after battling COVID-19-related pneumonia at Washington Hospital Center, the statement said.
An alumna of Academy of Our Lady High School and Fisk University, Bowser served roles at Catholic Charities and the D.C. Department on Aging, where she helped advance the needs of children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
“Mercia was loved immensely and will be missed greatly, as she joins the legion of angels who have gone home too soon due to the pandemic,” the mayor said. “I ask that you continue to keep those who have been lost or impacted by the pandemic and those who are working so hard to protect us from it in your thoughts and prayers, and I respectfully request that my family and I are granted the time and space we need to mourn the loss of Mercia.”
The announcement comes just hours after the mayor declared Feb. 24 as “A Day of Remembrance for Lives Lost to COVID-19” to mark the city’s 1,000th coronavirus-related death.
The mayor has shepherded a citywide, multiagency fight against COVID-19 — the potentially deadly respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus — since declaring a public health state of emergency in March.
The city has expanded its COVID-19 vaccination sites across the city in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Howard University launched a vaccine clinic that attracted 500 people on its first day.
Starting Thursday, per the mayor’s announcement, residents with qualifying conditions can also book vaccination appointments by phone or through an online portal.
Information about memorial events for Mercia is forthcoming.
She is survived by her parents, siblings, nieces, nephews and a bevy of friends, many of whom attended Israel Metropolitan Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.