'He was the best dad': Beloved Little Village vendor Don Lupillo dies of COVID-19

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A beloved street vendor from the Little Village community died November 15th after contracting COVID-19 two weeks earlier.

Guadalupe Perez, known in his community as Don Lupillo, was known for his shaved ice known as raspados in Spanish. He was a vendor on 26th street for over 20 years. His son, Alejandro Perez, said he and his dad shared a close bond.

"To me he was the best dad, always responsible and I remember he always told me 'a lot of people know me' he was proud of that," said Perez.

Perez said his father was well known around the community and beyond, saying Don Lupillo would get costumers from Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Perez said his father will ultimately be known for his kind and generous heart. Both Perez and Don Lupillo caught COVID-19, but as Perez got better, his father got worse.

On the afternoon of November 15th, Don Lupillo took his last breath while in the ambulance on his way to the hospital for breathing issues.

"I called the hospital to ask him how he was, everything, and then they gave me the news that he passed away already," said Perez.

Distraught, Perez made the call to all his family members telling them the news about his father's death. He said what helped him through this loss was the support of the community.

His cousin, Elizeth Arguelles, raised over $10,000 with the help of the community for Don Lupillo's funeral expenses. Perez said he received calls from strangers sharing how his father helped them when they were in need.

"Its little things like that that I'm like wow I'm proud of him," said Perez.

As his father's cart, now decorated with flowers, sits in his garage as an emblem of his father's legacy, Perez warns his community that's been hit hard by the pandemic to take it seriously.

"This is real, this is very real, and it's not a game. Like a lot of people say it's a government thing, I mean for me it was real."

Don Lupillo would have turned 63-years-old on December 12th. His body was flown to Mexico with his family where they are currently planning his funeral.
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