Michele Sciama, former secretary-general of the main Jewish communal-life organization in Milan, Italy, died of the coronavirus on March 16 at the age of 79.

Sciama, who was known by those close to him as “Micky,” is survived by his wife, Viviane, and their two daughters, Dalia and Stefania, reported the Italian-Jewish magazine Moked.

Born in Cairo in May 1941, Sciama studied engineering in London before working as a business manager in Milan. He served as secretary-general of the Jewish Community of Milan from 1993 to 2007.

Gadi Luzzatto Voghera, director of the Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation, which documents Nazi war crimes, said that before he was sick with the COVID-19, Sciama was trying to organize a fundraising concert for the center.

“We will perform the concert in his name and in his memory, to honor his memory and to fight that virus that not only produces statistics, but deprives us of the presence of people, friends and brethren,” said Luzzatto Voghera.

Sciama was involved in Jewish education, and his passing is a “great loss for the community,” Claudia Bagnarelli, a former principal at the Jewish school of Milan, told JTA.

Italy has 27,980 reported cases of coronavirus and 2,158 deaths as of Tuesday—the most after China, where the virus started.

Milan, home to Italy’s second-largest Jewish community, and northern Italy have been the epicenter of the outbreak in the country.

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