Pasadena family mourns death of father from COVID-19, six days before 65th birthday

Antelmo Garcia was always careful about protecting himself, his family says. He died from COVID-19 days before his 65th birthday.
PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- A Pasadena family is sharing the story of their beloved father and grandfather who passed away due to COVID-19 infection, six days before his 65th birthday.

"He was a good man, he had a kind heart, he wasn't part of the problem," Emmanuele Garcia said about his father, Antelmo Garcia.

Antelmo moved to the United States in 1984 in search of a better life for his family.

He held a variety of jobs over the years, most recently as a fast-food worker.

"He got so paranoid that even I couldn't hug him," said Garcia, speaking about his father.

He said his father took the coronavirus seriously early on and started wearing a mask well before it was required, but was met with resistance at his work.

"He asked the management, can I wear this mask? And the management said no," said Garcia.

Soon after, his father contracted the virus and spent two months at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena.

His symptoms were severe and due to precautions, family members were unable to visit.

"He was very tired, fatigued, nauseous, immense coughing. He would have these headaches that would make him cry," explained Emmanuele.

Antelmo Garcia passed away Friday, May 22.

Thursday, May 28, would have been his 65th birthday.

Emmanuele, who contracted the virus as well, has since recovered and has started a GoFundMe fundraiser as he and his family try to figure out how to give his father the proper cremation and burial in Mexico.

Looking back in his panic of rushing his father to the hospital, Emmanuele only has one regret.

"I just forgot to say I love you."
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