SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Family members say shortly before the COVID-19 death of a local man, who was unvaccinated, he vowed to propose to "the love of his life."
Andy Lerma, 41, first felt sick in mid-July.
His sister Anna Williams says Lerma, a welder, went home with a migraine, and then texted a co-worker later that day.
“He said, ‘I have the chills. You know, I have a cough.’ He said that the migraine was still there,” said Williams.
In about a week's time, he would test positive for COVID-19, before being hospitalized. The day after he was admitted, he was placed on a ventilator.
But in the hours before, he texted his mother.
“He’s telling my mom how much he loves her,” said Williams.
Among his last messages were texts saying he was going to propose to his longtime girlfriend Celeste, when he recovered.
“That's love. That was his last love on earth,” said Williams.
Lerma would never get a chance to propose. He passed away from COVID-19 complications last Tuesday.
“We're lost. We’re broken. We don't know what to do,” said Williams.
Williams says her brother is compassionate, sociable, fun-loving, and a talented artist. She says he drew and painted hundreds of pieces of artwork.
Williams knows his brother — who didn’t have any underlying conditions — was unvaccinated but isn't sure why he was reluctant to get the vaccine.
“I do know for a fact his job was offering the vaccine,” said Williams.
Williams says her brother was the second unvaccinated family member to pass from COVID-19 in a period of a week. A cousin had passed away days earlier.
“COVID just comes in, whether you're healthy or not, and it just rips your family apart and shreds it to pieces … I just wish everybody would go out and get your vaccine because I don’t wish this on anybody. This pain is just tremendous and ongoing,” said Williams.
A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help his family with expenses.