Michael Freedy, 39, a father of five, and his fiancee, Jessica du Preez, traveled with their family to San Diego in mid-July.
When Freedy returned home, he developed a painful skin rash, du Preez said.
“He was getting chills, couldn’t eat, couldn’t get comfortable, couldn’t sleep,” du Preez said. “All symptoms of sun poisoning.”
He later tested positive for coronavirus and developed difficulty breathing with pneumonia in both lungs, du Preez said.
“Oh my [expletive] God. This is terrible,” Freedy sent du Preez in a text message from the hospital. “I should have gotten the damn vaccine.”
“I went to the ICU that night to see him, after getting one of the worst phone call updates ever,” du Preez wrote in a GoFundMe post. “The nurse told me to contact next of kin and to take all of his belongings home with me.”
Du Preez said Freedy died in the hospital Thursday morning.
“We were just holding off and now to think that if we just had gotten the shot a week before or a month before when one of our jobs had a vaccination thing, he could still be here,” she said.
Both du Preez and her eldest child got the first dose of the vaccine when Freedy was admitted to the hospital, she said.
She hopes her family’s story prompts others to take the virus seriously and avoid a similar tragedy. A GoFundMe for the family had raised nearly $20,000 as of noon Friday.