Hours after the family’s New Year’s Eve party, however, Herrera’s condition took a turn for the worse, according to his brother, Pablo Portilla.
“He told us, ‘Happy new year.’ Unfortunately after that, he just had complications a full day. He was in pain. We took him to the hospital, and that’s that,” Portilla told the news station.
Portilla spoke affectionately about his brother, who was an auto mechanic by trade — calling him exceptional with his hands but moreover generous and loving.
“I’m always going to remember him for the joyous person he was, for the amazing things he did, the way that he had an effect on everyone’s life.”
According to CDC data, 585 people nationwide between the ages of 1 and 24 died from the coronavirus between Feb. 1 and Dec. 26, 2020.
Herrera was the 11th person under the age of 20 to die from the virus in Illinois, according to reports.
Portilla said he hopes his brother’s death raises awareness that any age group is susceptible to the virus.
“It doesn’t discriminate on age. It just happens, and we should all be careful. We shouldn’t think, ‘Oh, yeah, because I’m young, it’s not going to happen to me,’” Portilla said. “We just have to be careful. We have to take our precautions, and we have to take this seriously.”