PHOENIX — A Valley veteran's eight-week battle against COVID-19 ended on Monday.
Tony Munoz, 55, grew up in the Valley and was hospitalized twice due to COVID-19. The second time, his wife said was the worst, and when he needed to be placed on a ventilator. After weeks in the hospital, Munoz passed away on Monday.
"He was in so much pain. He couldn’t breathe. He said his chest felt like it was burning," said Susan Munoz, his wife of 30 years. The couple had five children and eight grandchildren.
Tony Munoz was a two-time kidney transplant recipient, who Susan said was in relatively good health. She said family was everything to Munoz, and he'd call his children every day and tell them to "be brilliant."
"He had a really loud laugh, would fill up the whole room," Susan described. "Maybe God gave me him a little bit longer, and at this time it was his turn to go to heaven."
Susan said she has a son in the military deployed in the Middle East who's trying to make his way to Arizona in time for his father's funeral. They also have a daughter and son-in-law who are in the military.
"We are a military family, very proud and very sad at the loss of my husband who was a great father, great grandfather, so full of life," wrote Susan to ABC15.
While in the hospital, Susan would bring video and audio messages to Munoz from family. It wasn't until after his death that Susan found videos on her late husband's phone that Munoz had taken on the beach. In the videos, he is recording Susan while saying, "There’s my baby. Love her so much. My baby.”
"I never knew someone could love me as much as he loved me," said Susan Munoz. "He showed me love every day. My kids are just the best because of him."
Multiple members of the Munoz family contracted COVID-19, including Susan. She was able to beat the virus, but she said her cousin, in his 40s and good health, passed away.
"You can’t take this lightly," said Susan. "Until COVID has a cure or more time has gone by, you need to take care of your loved ones and be with them. Hug them, take care of them, stay safe."
If you'd like to help the Munoz family deal with funeral costs and other expenses, they've set up a GoFundMe account here.