MESA, Ariz — The number of deaths keeps rising in the Valley. 143 people between the ages of 20 and 44 in Arizona have died from COVID-19 as of Wednesday.
One of them is 42-year-old Kris Chupp.
But he was better known as DJ Steel, mixing the music at Valley clubs like the Salty Senorita and Whiskey Row in Gilbert. He was the face behind the music and a face of COVID-19.
DJ Steel leaves behind his daughter Miah, who lives in Minnesota. And she's still having a hard time accepting her father’s death.
“It’s not fair. COVID is not fair,” she said.
She remembers how her dad made everyone feel and how popular he was across the states thanks to his DJing career.
“So many people know my dad and they know him. He’s a person that really went out of his way to make everyone feel special.”
The DJ was healthy and full of energy before he became ill. It was shocking to the family that he didn’t recover, and his death changed their whole perspective of what the virus can do.
“You know you see all these people who say ‘It only affects old people.' Well no, it’s not,” said his sister Cassie.
DJ Steel came down with symptoms around Father’s Day, sending a text message to the family group chat letting them know he wouldn’t make it out to see his grandfather for the holiday because he knew several people who had tested positive for COVID-19, not wanting to risk exposing his relatives.
After that group text, his family did not hear much from Chupp for a few days, which his daughter and sister said was unlike him.
“He was pretty quiet,” said Cassie.
“Which is weird coming from my dad, he’s like the one running everything,” said Miah.
That following Friday he was admitted to Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa.
Chupp last DJ’d at Whiskey Row in Gilbert but the family is unsure where he contracted the virus.
February of this year was the last time Miah saw her father in person, and it was the first time Chupp met both of his granddaughters. He took them to the Phoenix Zoo and then Salty Senorita’s to show one granddaughter how to DJ.
“It was the cutest thing and it was, just really fun,” said Miah of the visit.
Miah and his sister Cassie were unable to visit him at the medical center, but they did get to see him in a different type of way.
“They did allow Facetime. So, we got to Facetime with him. The nurses were amazing. They called us every day. We would get quite a bit of time,” said Miah and Cassie.
Miah always loved spending time with her dad in Arizona and even lived with him for a short period of time in her teen years.
“You never knew what to expect. That was so fun too. It was always an adventure," she said.
DJ Steel leaves behind his wife Jessica Chupp along with one child (Miah) and two grandkids. The family has set up a GoFundMe account.