Denzel Washington Misses Presidential Medal Of Freedom Ceremony After Testing Positive For COVID
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Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington has tested positive for COIVD.

On Thursday, the movie star was slated to be honored at the White House as part of the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony, however, he couldn’t attend due to his positive test results. 

“Denzel tested positive for COVID and so he was unfortunately unable to attend the Medal of Freedom award ceremony,” a rep for Washington told PEOPLE

The rep continued by sharing an update on how he’s coping with the virus, stating, “He feels fine.”

In addition to being celebrated for his more than 40 years of work in film and on stage, Washington was also going to recognized for his service as the National Spokesman for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for over 25 years. He will be honored at a later date. 

Washington, 67, is one of 17 individuals to be selected by the President to receive the honor this year, along with gymnast Simone Biles, soccer star Megan Rapinoe, civil rights activist Diane Nash, and a posthumous award for Steve Jobs.

While Washington was absent from the ceremony, President Biden allotted time in his remarks to honor the actor’s stellar career. “There’s a man who couldn’t be here today but wanted to be: Denzel Washington, one of our greatest actors in American history,” POTUS said.

The President continued, “Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Tony Awards, (and) wide acclaim from audiences and peers around the world. He couldn’t be here with us today, but I’ll be giving him this award at a later date when he’s able to get here.” 

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor a civilian can receive in the United States. The annual award is presented to individuals “who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors.”

In 2018, Washington told PEOPLE about the important role the Boys & Girls Clubs of America played in him becoming the man he is today. “My father was a Pentecostal preacher who taught me the importance of faith. My mother was a beautician who sacrificed to get me the best education possible. But I also had a local Boys & Girls Club with mentors who cared and gave me the confidence I needed to set higher goals than I might have.”

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