(WPIX/CNN) - A New York family is devastated after a father of five died from COVID-19 on his twin daughters' 10th birthday.
Rolando "Sonny" Aravena died last week at age 44 in New Windsor, New York, where he built a life with his wife and their five children.
Aravena, a field technician for Verizon, first showed symptoms of COVID-19 on March 19, a week after he was sent to work at a hospital in Manhattan.
After experiencing a fever, chills and muscle aches, Aravena called the coronavirus hotline. His wife, Melody, said he waited on hold for about five hours before being scheduled for a test on March 26.
While waiting for a test, Melody said her husband's condition worsened over the week. He went to urgent care clinics and an emergency room, but was given an inhaler and told to self-quarantine at home.
"The doctors sent him away three times...even with an oxygen level of 89," Melody wrote on Instagram.
On March 29, she realized her husband was having trouble breathing and drove him to the emergency room at Orange Regional Medical Center.
He passed away hours later, and Melody shared the heartbreaking news in an emotional Instagram post.
"The health care system failed us. My soulmate is gone. The pain is unbearable," she wrote. "I want you all to know that he died on March 29, 2020, the day we should have been celebrating the 10th birthday of our twin daughters."
"His last words to me were, 'Mel, I never knew love like this before. I love you.'"
Aravena did not have any underlying health conditions, according to his family.
The father of two boys and three girls loved sports and encouraged all of his children to be active. He was also a volunteer basketball coach, who mentored more than 100 children at the Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh.
Now, one of Aravena’s youngest girls has also tested positive for COVID-19.
"This is serious. I don't know why people think it's a joke or if it's fake. It's not fake. My dad just died from it. My little sister has it," said his eldest daughter, Amberly.
As of Monday, a GoFundMe page has raised more than $70,000 for the family.