Long-time TTC driver dies of COVID-19 in Pakistan

·2 min read
Zaheer Mahmood, 61, died after he contracted COVID-19 while away in Pakistan. (Submitted by ATU Local 113 - image credit)
Zaheer Mahmood, 61, died after he contracted COVID-19 while away in Pakistan. (Submitted by ATU Local 113 - image credit)

A 61-year-old TTC bus driver died early Wednesday morning after contracting COVID-19 while away in Pakistan.

"It is with great sadness and heavy hearts we share that Zaheer Mahmood, a dedicated ATU Local 113 member and bus operator from Wilson Division, passed away this morning from COVID-19 while away in Pakistan," wrote Carlos Santos, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113.

According to the union, Mahmood worked at the TTC since 2013.

ATU Local 113, which represents 12,000 public transit workers throughout Toronto and York Region, said he will be missed by all those who knew and worked with him, including his colleagues from Wilson Division in North York.

The union described Mahmood as a "loving father" and said he will be laid to rest in Lahore, Pakistan.

"ATU Local 113 sends our deepest condolences to Zaheer's family and friends. May he rest in peace," Santos wrote.

Mahmood's nephew, Umar Riaz, told CBC Toronto that his uncle was "full of life and energy."

Mahmood's nephew described his uncle as 'full of life and energy.'
Mahmood's nephew described his uncle as 'full of life and energy.'(Submitted by Umar Riaz)

"Right at this very moment, the kids are missing their dad who was always there through their highs and lows, their mom is missing her partner, who cherished his life," Riaz said.

Riaz wants his uncle to be remembered for his charismatic personality and as someone who inspired his relatives to cherish their own lives.

"He will always live in our thoughts and his smile will always be imprinted in minds of loved ones," said Riaz.

Mahmood's death comes as the ATU recognizes the national "Day of Mourning" on Apr. 28 commemorating those who have died or been injured on the job.

Over the course of the pandemic, the union says it has lost 150 members across North America to COVID-19.

Mahmood is the second TTC employee to die of COVID-19. Joe Sotittle died on Dec. 31.

"While we grieve, ATU Local 113 remains committed to the health and safety of our members on the job." said Santos.