Hartseer relatives of Captain Kenny Lombard, 52, say they were left shattered on Friday morning when doctors informed them that he had passed away, just a day after showing signs of recovery.
On social media, tributes poured in for the dedicated detective who was a shift captain at Table View SAPS and who joined the force more than 30 years ago.
His sister Patricia van Rooyen, 54, says their family is originally from Grassy Park and as a child, Lombard always dreamed of becoming a police officer.
“We moved to Atlantis in 1980 and when he qualified, he worked at various police stations including Table View, Philadelphia and Atlantis,” says Patricia.
She says earlier this month, her brother fell ill and was hospitalised after struggling to breathe.
“He called me and said: ‘Sister, I was tested positive, I love you and look after the family’. Then he went into quarantine and he was at Milnerton Medi-Clinic.”
She says he was placed on a ventilator and last Thursday he had showed signs of recovery.
“The Sister called me and I asked to speak to him,” says Patricia.
“He said to me I must tell everyone he loves them and thanked them for all the prayers.
“The next morning his wife told me he did not make it. I was broken.
“He was such a people’s person and was always straightforward.
“He was a man of the law and would even tell his friends that if he ever caught them breaking the law, he would arrest them.”
On Sunday bikers of the Destiny Riders Motorcycle Club, which Lombard had founded, held a motorcade to his home in Atlantis to say their final farewells.
Table View Community Police Forum (CPF) chairperson, Dave Harris, says they got a skrik when they heard about his death.
“The community is devastated because he had such an impeccable record and was admired by all of us,” says Harris.
“This is a major loss for Table View and we wish his family well in this difficult time.
“Officers at the station along with the CPF, neighbourhood watches and security companies will have a patrol on Wednesday to honour him.”
Lombard will be laid to rest on Saturday. He is survived by his wife and three children.