A US man who frequently called Covid-19 "hype" and refused to wear a face mask has died of the deadly virus.

Ohio man Richard Rose posted in support of the "anti-masker" rhetoric.

"Let make this clear. I'm not buying a ****ing mask. I've made it this far by not buying into that damn hype," he said in April.

On July 4, he died from complications associated with Covid-19.

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Two weeks ago he revealed he was in quarantine because he tested positive, saying it "sucks" because he had just started a new job.

But just three days after testing positive, he died.

Now his family are defending the 37-year-old saying it's not fair he is getting abused for his face mask stance even after his death.

"Rick is getting slaughtered online right now for his decision that he made not to wear a mask and that's not right," his friend Nick Conley told NBC.

This was my friend Richard Rose. Rick was diagnosed with COVID-19 on July 1. Rick lost his life 3 days later on July...

Posted by Nick Conley on Tuesday, 7 July 2020

"We should still be compassionate whether we agree with someone's beliefs or not.

"Someone has passed away and we should have some compassion towards that."

Family and friends are now asking others to use Rose's death as a cautionary tale to those who aren't taking Covid-19 seriously.

"We were blown away, you know? You hear about this virus and you don't expect it to affect people, younger people like ourselves," Conley said.

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"It's horrible that we lost Rick but the even more tragic part of that is who else became infected because of the actions that he chose."