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Sammy Linebaugh reportingJames Salisbury has been teaching college English in the Chinese city of Sin Gen for the past year. Last Monday, he was hospitalized with pneumonia-like symptoms.
Late last night his family in Utah got the phone call they'd been dreading.
"HE LOVED HIS KIDS AND WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR HIS KIDS."
James Sailsbury's daughter Michelle describes her father as a devoted dad. Artistic, adventurous, a man who loved to learn.
Michelle Salisbury/James' Daughter: "HE WOULD READ ANYTHING. READ BOOKS AND MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS AND KEPT UP ON CURRENT EVENTS AND HE REALLY ENCOURAGED US TO HAVE OPINIONS."
The 52 year old Orem man has eight children from two marriages.
His six year old son Mikey has been in China with him since last spring when he accepted a job to teach English at a Chinese University.
The two came back to visit every few months.
Just last January they made a family trip to Disneyland before returning to China.
Sammy Linebaugh/Eyewitness News: "SIX YEAR OLD MIKEY HAS SHOWN SYMPTOMS OF SARS. AND INITIALLY FAMILY HERE WAS TOLD HE TOO HAD THE DISEASE."
Michelle: "NOW THEY'RE SAYING HE DOESN'T, WHICH IS REALLY GREAT, AND HE'S BEING TREATED IN A HOSPITAL IN HONG KONG AND THEY DON'T EXPECT HIM TO HAVE SARS AND THEY'RE JUST KEEPING HIM FOR THE MAXIMUM INCUBATION PERIOD. FOR 10 DAYS OF QUARANTINE."
For Salisbury's wife, and their three young daughters, triplets, who've remained here in Utah, Michelle says the focus is now on getting Mikey back home to the U-S.
Michelle: "SHE NEEDS TO KNOW THAT HE'S OKAY. SHE NEEDS TO KNOW THAT EVERYTHING'S GOING TO BE FINE, AND FIND COMFORT IN THAT."
Worldwide, SARS has claimed 106 lives but none in the United States. And as far as we know, James Salisbury is the first American to die from the mystery illness in the Far East.