A City Heights grandfather known for being full of love and laughter took his last breath on Valentine's Day after a months-long roller coaster battle with COVID-19.
Dante Lorenzo, 68, was in and out of the hospital through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and into the new year. He ultimately lost his battle on Valentine’s Day.
“I think it was his loving personality that just flowed through him,” said Lorenzo’s daughter Ashley Yousif as she reminisced about her father.
Lorenzo is described as a healthy and happy man who loved spending time with his best friend, his grandson Alex.
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“Till this day I don’t think I’ve ever met somebody that doesn’t like him,” said Yousif with a smile. “He’s just someone you want to be around and laugh with.”
Yousif shared how it’s been tough following her dad’s passing and how her 4-year-old son is trying to understand why his grandfather is no longer around. Nonetheless, she said she’s at peace knowing the cherished memories of her father and son will always live in their hearts.
“His stay in the hospital was just a roller coaster, he had really good ups, really bad downs,” she said.
In mid-November, Lorenzo, who was working as a painter, got sick after his son and wife both fell ill with COVID-19. Lorenzo’s battle was most severe, and he was hospitalized days later.
“It was like a marathon for him,” said Yousif. “If his lungs would’ve just healed he would’ve been fine, and I think that’s why his fight lasted so long because his body was healthy,” she said.
Photos: ‘It Was Like a Marathon For Him' City Heights Grandpa Hospitalized For Three Months Battling COVID-19
Lorenzo’s hospitalization lasted from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s day, but at one point there was hope. In mid-December the father of three and grandfather of one was sent home with oxygen, but days later he had to return.
“Unfortunately, he just got stuck,” said Yousif. “There was a week of just no progress, the same, the same, the same, and then after Christmas it just took a turn for the worse.”
By the New Year, the smiling, confident and loving man they all knew was on a ventilator. Then on Valentine's Day, Yousif and her mom went to say goodbye to their hero.
“Her husband of 30 years was passing right in front of her eyes,” she recalled. “I mean he took his last breath looking at her.”
Known as a strong man so full of joy and love, he passed away on a holiday that celebrates that. His daughter said she wants her father's story to be a reminder of how potent the disease can be.
“Don’t underestimate COVID, don’t underestimate it,” she said. “It’s literally a back stabbing disease because just when you think you’ve made it out, it comes and grabs you right back.”
The family says they'll have to wait weeks for their father to be cremated because many funeral homes are backlogged with requests.
They are collecting funds for Lorenzo’s funeral in San Diego.