SPRING VALLEY, Calif. (KGTV) - Days after learning he was about to become a father again, a Spring Valley man passed away from COVID-19 complications.
Lester Bartolome first felt sick more than three weeks go.
“He had a headache. He really couldn't get out of the bed,” said his fiancee Yazmin Soto.
Soto says he tested positive for COVID, and a week and a half later, he was hospitalized with COVID pneumonia.
Nearly a week after he was admitted, Soto texted him a photo of her positive pregnancy test.
The couple have 4 children, including a one-year-old girl.
"He was like, ‘Damn, we're having another kid.’ He was being funny, but I can tell he was happy to be a dad again,” said Soto.
Four days later, this past Monday, the two texted each other into the night.
“I said, ‘I love you.’ He said, ‘I love you.’ I said, ‘Tomorrow, you’re going to have a better day breathing,’” said Soto.
Two hours later, Bartolome went into cardiac arrest and passed away at the age of 40.
"Just feels like a part of me is missing, you know,” said a tearful Soto.
Soto calls Bartolome a caring and special person.
“He was a hard worker, loved his family,” said Soto.
Bartolome — diligent about wearing masks — worked two jobs, including one in pest control. The two were planning to marry next year.
Soto opted for a vaccine, but he was reluctant. He was concerned about side effects.
“He didn’t have any underlying conditions. He wasn’t worried about catching COVID … He said, ‘I have a high immune system. I can fight it off.’” said Soto.
A grieving Soto is now urging the hesitant to look into getting vaccinated.
“If I could go back and change everything, or if we had a redo button … Protect yourself and your family, because it hurts when your family is broken,” said Soto.
A Gofundme campaign has been started to help family with expenses.