CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- An officer of the Chicago Police Department died of COVID-19 early Thursday, Mayor Lightfoot announced Thursday during a news conference.

"Chicago has lost another city employee to the COVID-19 virus, and this time it was a Chicago Police Department officer," Lightfoot said. "Since the moment this crisis arrived in our city, it has been our health care workers, first responders, like this officer, who have been putting their lives on the line every day to fight this virus and keep Chicagoans safe. Tragically this officer gave his life to that fight. Our hearts go out to this individual's family, friends, and fellow officers who lives have been forever changed by this terrible loss."

Lightfoot said the officer contracted the virus last week and was hospitalized over the weekend. 

Interim Chicago Police Superintendent Charlie Beck, with the permission of the family, announced the identity of the officer.

Officer Marco DiFranco, 50, was a 21-year veteran of the department and worked in narcotics. He is survived by his wife, two children, and a brother, who also worked in narcotics for the Chicago Police Department.

Officer DiFranco was appointed to the Chicago Police Department in May 1998. He was most recently assigned to the narcotics division under the Bureau of Detectives. 

"He was a highly decorated officer. During his tenure at the Chicago Police Department, he received 154 awards during Superintendent Honorable Mention..." Beck said.

“Officer Marco Di Franco, a first generation Italian American was assigned to an undercover narcotics team,” CPD chief spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said on Twitter. “His first love was his family, his second was being a Chicago cop and lastly his heritage and collection of Italian sports cars. He was one hell of a policeman.”

Beck said the department is unsure if Di Franco contracted the disease at work.

The officer’s death from the coronavirus is the first in the nearly 14,000-person department, Beck said.

At least 60 members of the department have contracted the disease.

Di Franco is the second city employee to die from COVID-19.