PHOENIX - A Valley family is asking the public to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously after they lost a loved one to the virus at the age of 33.
They say it took a week in the hospital before he died with a short goodbye.
Family members are remembering Daniel Hoyer as a Phoenix man loved by his community.
Daniel's family said once he tested positive for COVID-19, his health went downhill quickly.
"I feel like half of me is gone. I really do," said Daniel's wife, Tita Ramos Hoyer.
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Both Tita and Daniel's mother, Jo Anne Dumas-Muhammad, share an unconditional love for him. Known for his energy, there was never a dull moment around him.
Tita is still accepting that he's no longer here.
"I still look at our room and I look at his clothes and I look at the door and I wish he could come back to us."
Daniel and Tita both tested positive for coronavirus around Christmas. He had trouble breathing before being hospitalized and in an intensive care unit. He was put on a ventilator after his oxygen level was at 26%.
Jo Anne says being overweight did not help Daniel's fight against the virus.
"When this came up on him, he had nothing to fight and just his immune was so weak, he had nothing to fight with because it attacks."
After six days in the hospital, Daniel passed away last Sunday. His mother got 15 minutes to say goodbye in person.
"And when I looked at him Justin, it took me back to when he was a little boy lying in bed ... my child ... and I seen him and I felt helpless ... all my life protected my son and now I felt like I failed him.. that I didn't protect him enough."
A son, brother, husband, and uncle -- taken away so quickly, leaving loved ones heartbroken.
"He was just one of a kind," said Ramos Hoyer.
"Of all the people in the world, it was Daniel. I don't wish this on nobody, but how did this happen to us?" asked Jo Anne.
Jo Anne and Tita are doing their best to stay strong and lay him to rest. If you'd like to help Daniel's family, a fundraiser has been set up at https://www.gofundme.com/f/daniel-danyo-hoyer
Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic:
In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Monitor your health daily