LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The family of a valley paramedic who helped victims the night of 1 October said he died of the flu Sunday morning.
Michael Czaruk, 36, had gotten his flu shot but his family says he got ill anyway. His fiancé claims Czaruk had one dose of medication to help fight the illness but stopped breathing at his home several hours later.
His death comes after he proposed to his long-time girlfriend, Brenda Occhipinti. Occhipinti talked with FOX5 just two years earlier about the loss of her son, Carlo Jr., to the same illness.
"The same thing that happened to my son happened to him,” said Occhipinti. "He couldn't breathe. It was the same thing. The next minute you know the paramedics say there's no pulse on him."
Czaruk’s family described him as a person who would willingly help anyone. He had a passion for serving and saving lives. While off-duty on 1 October, he volunteered to be on the clock and assist the wounded.
"They were shooting and doing whatever they were doing and he was out there helping people, picking people up, and getting people up,” said Czaruk’s mother, Sandra Stehlik. “That was Michael."
The Clark County Coroner’s office is still investigating Czaruk’s death.
Occhipinto and Czaruk’s family are urging the public to get their flu shots to prevent the spread of the deadly illness. The same message Occhipinto delivered two years ago.
"Brenda lost her son to the flu. She now lost her fiancé to the flu,” said Stehlik. Please, please, please go get your flu shot. It is important."
Carlo Occipinti Jr., 12, died of pneumonia stemming from an influenza B viral infection, according to the Clark County Coroner's Office.
The family set up a GoFundMe.