Michael Freedy had decided to wait a year to get vaccinated because he was concerned about possible side effects

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michael freedy
Credit: Go Fund Me

A Las Vegas man has died of COVID-19 after declining to get the vaccine, leaving behind his fiancée and their five children. 

Michael Freedy, 39, died of COVID-19 after contracting the disease while on vacation in San Diego, California, with his fiancée, Jessica DuPreez, and their five children — ages 17, 10, 7, 6 and 17 months. Freedy told DuPreez that he regretted not getting the vaccine just before his death. 

DuPreez and Freedy had been waiting to see any possible effects of the vaccine before getting it for themselves. While hospitalized with a severe case of COVID-19, Feedy texted his fiancée, "I should have gotten the damn vaccine." 

DuPreez told FOX5 Las Vegas that she and Freedy "wanted to wait just one year from the release to see what effects people had, but there was never any intention to not get it." Now, she said that she and her oldest child have both been vaccinated, and she will always regret not having gotten the shot earlier. 

She added, "He is only 39. Our babies now don't have a dad. You can't say I am young and it won't affect me because it will."

Freedy initially mistook his COVID-19 case for sun poisoning, but tested positive for the virus after experiencing chills, lack of appetite and trouble sleeping. After being sent home from the hospital after his diagnosis, Freedy's condition sharply declined. 

In a GoFundMe account created for her late fiancé, DuPreez said Freedy was "miserable" after testing positive, was "beside himself" in pain and feeling "scared." When Freedy experienced dizziness and trouble breathing, she brought him back to the hospital, where doctors found pneumonia in his lungs and placed Freedy on oxygen. 

Once admitted to the hospital, Freedy spent days on breathing machines and in the ICU before his death Thursday. "Hug your loved ones. Because it turned so fast," Dupreez wrote in a GoFundMe update. "And I would give practically anything to hear Mike say my name and hug me and be able to tell him I love him more than ever."

COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the U.S. with the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, which has led to a reversal in CDC mask wearing guidance and altered return-to-office plans for major companies like Google and Apple. 

On Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, warned that the U.S. is "going in the wrong direction" as cases continue to climb. 

"It is really a pandemic among the unvaccinated, so this is an issue predominantly among the unvaccinated, which is the reason why we're out there, practically pleading with the unvaccinated people to go out and get vaccinated," he said. 

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDCWHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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This story originally appeared on people.com