By Adam Ferrise Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland

CLEVELAND — A veteran Cleveland police officer died Friday, four days after he collapsed during a training exercise in 90-degree heat.

Patrolman Vu Nguyen died at the Cleveland Clinic, where he had been approved for a liver transplant, police officials said.

Nguyen has been a Cleveland police officer since 1998 and leaves behind a wife and two children.

Cleveland police officials and Nguyen’s family sent out a statement after his death that called Nguyen a “hero.”

“The outpouring of support from the Cleveland community and beyond has been truly amazing and greatly appreciated,” the statement says. “Patrol Officer Vu Nguyen is greatly loved by his family and by his brothers and sisters in blue.”

Nguyen had been on life support intermittently since he lost consciousness during training exercises Monday. He was rushed to MetroHealth and remained there until Thursday, when he was flown by emergency helicopter to the Cleveland Clinic.

Nguyen collapsed Monday during training for officers seeking a position for handling drug-sniffing dogs. He collapsed during a timed mile-and-a-half run. The training also includes physical fitness tests, such push-ups and sit-ups.

Cleveland’s high temperature on Monday was 93 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

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A Message from the Family of Patrol Officer Vu Nguyen and the Cleveland Division of Police On Monday, July 2, 2018,…

Posted by Cleveland Police on Friday, July 6, 2018

Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Jeff Follmer said Nguyen had no known pre-existing conditions prior to the collapse.

Nguyen battled kidney and liver issues in the days after he collapsed. On Friday, doctors discovered he had bleeding on his brain.

Nguyen worked in a specialized unit in the city’s Third District, Follmer said. Prior to becoming a police officer, Nguyen worked for four years as a guard in the city’s jail.

Cleveland police administration officials praised Nguyen and another officer in 2015 for helping save the life of a 14-month-old girl. The girl’s mother had pulled over on the side of the road because the girl had stopped breathing.

Nguyen and his partner spotted the distressed mother and gave the girl emergency medical care until an ambulance arrived. Their actions saves the girl’s life, officials said at the time.

Little Italy restauranteur Terry Tarantino, who owns La Dolce Vita in the police district where Nguyen worked, said in a Facebook post that Nguyen was “one of Cleveland’s finest [and] one of Little Italy’s favorites.”

“Some people do their jobs well and some add that human magic that soothes the soul when you see them…that’s Vu!,” Tarantino’s post said.

©2018 Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland

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