Carpentersville coronavirus: Army Sgt. Simon Zamudio and mother die of COVID-19 3 days apart

CARPENTERSVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- A U.S. Army reservist and his mother have died only three days apart from COVID-19, forcing their family to say goodbye and hold services for both of them this week.

"It's been very painful," said Alicia Zamudio, the victims' daughter and sister.

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Sgt. Simon Zamudio, 34, was assigned to the 371st Theater Movement Control Element at Fort Sheridan, IL, according to an Army Reserve spokesman. Zamudio, of Carpentersville, enlisted in the Army Reserve in October 2015, and he was promoted to sergeant last month.

On May 9, Sgt. Zamudio took his 70-year-old mother, Gloria Cervantes-Zamudio, to Amita Health St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, relatives said.

Her family was worried, but they also knew she had a fighting spirit.

"She was a warrior, she became a widow at the age of 38 with 5 kids," Alicia Zamudio said.

Nine days after taking his mom to the hospital, Sgt. Zamudio was sick too.

"I talked to him the day before (he died). He did sound very sick. I never thought it would be the last day I would talk to him," his sister said.

Zamudio was an Army man, but he was also a husband and father of 11-month-old daughter Zoe.

"As a father, he was crazy about it," Alicia Zamudio said.

When Sgt. Zamudio was a child, just one year old, his father died, relatives said. The experience shaped Sgt. Zamudio's life. He would tell family members how much he missed not having a father, and he told his sister he wanted to make sure he was always there for his own child.

"He was going to care and love his daughter all his life. And he was going to teach her so many things," his sister said.

Sgt. Zamudio's condition worsened, forcing him to seek treatment at the same hospital where his mom was a patient. On May 22nd, he died from complications related to COVID-19. His death has baffled the family, especially because they said he didn't have any health problems.

"He was so healthy. He was being deployed next month. So, we know he was doing, health-wise, he was good," said his sister.

And that wasn't all. On Memorial Day, just three days later on May 25, Sgt. Zamudio's mom died too. His family, some skeptical of the virus months ago, now have a message for all of us.

"From three months ago, not believing COVID really existed. It showed me in the worst way how real it is," Alicia Zamudio said. "Don't think COVID is a lie because it's very real."

A visitation was held Wednesday at Willow Funeral Home in Algonquin for Sgt. Zamudio and his mother. The family says a service with military honors will be held at a later date.
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