"To lose someone without being able to be there, and for them to pass without loved ones by their side is truly heartbreaking," Santos shared.
"Superstore" star Nico Santos is in mourning tonight after losing his stepfather to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic sweeping the world. The actor shared the tragic news via a post on Instagram, where he also revealed that his mother is still "fighting" her own battle against the deadly virus.
"My Tito Sonny passed away yesterday after losing his battle with COVID-19," Santos captioned an Instagram picture of his stepfather Sonny in an Instagram post smiling alongside his mother Tita. "He was a kind, caring man. Friendly to a fault. He always greeted strangers walking past him with a chipper 'Good Morning!' and a big smile."
While he said that his mother is currently "fighting" against the coronavirus, he is grateful she has been able to avoid hospitalization thus far. The hardest part of their battle, though, has been the necessary self-isolation that comes with battling a virus of this nature.
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It is a lesser-discussed tragic reality of this virus that people are not able to be by the sides of their loved ones as they struggle, fight and sometimes lose their battles against COVID-19.
"What has gutted me is that this pandemic has kept my family apart. We were unable to be with him during his last days," Santos shared. "To lose someone without being able to be there, and for them to pass without loved ones by their side is truly heartbreaking."
"I can't hold my mother as she mourns her husband," he continued. "I can't hug my brother as he contemplates a world without his father. I can't wipe away the tears from my nephews' eyes as they wonder why their Lolo Sonny isn't here anymore."
Santos' "Superstore" co-stars, as well as some of his other celebrity friends, shared their sorrow and grief with him through their comments. Kaliko Kauahi wrote that she was "sending your mom all of my positive energy and thoughts," adding "I'm here for anything you need."
"This is devastating. You are my chosen family and there is nothing I want more than to shoulder some of your pain. I know that's impossible but I wish it wasn't," wrote Lauren Ash. "Your mom is in my heart and thoughts and prayers as are you and the rest of your family."
His "Crazy Rich Asian" co-stars were also there for him, with Randall Park writing, "I'm so sorry for your loss. Love to you and the family, Nico."
"I'm so sorry for your and your family's loss," wrote Gemma Chan. "Your mom is in my thoughts, I hope she makes a speedy recovery. Sending all my love to you."
Ken Jeong wrote, "Your mother and family are in our thoughts and prayers and wishing her a speedy recovery," while "This Is Us" star Chrissy Metz shared her sorrow as well, writing, "Praying for your dear Mother and your family. May you all be surrounded with peace, health and love. May Sonny be gracefully held during his transition and always."
The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact life globally as the number of cases and fatalities continue to rise on a daily basis. Many Americans are under some kind of mandate regarding social distancing, requesting they keep at least six feet apart, and in some areas the more extreme self-isolation.
It's all an effort to "flatten the curve," which is to try and minimize the growth and spread of the virus so as to not overwhelm the already taxed medical industry and minimize the suffering and loss of life. President Trump recently extended the social distancing guidelines through the end of April, walking back his own ambitions to see America "back to work" by Easter.
The effective shutdown of many industries has had a huge impact on Hollywood as well, with many productions shut down or shifting to a work-from-home model. Santos' "Superstore" halted production before completing its final episode, which was to be series star America Ferrera's final episode. She is expected to return whenever production is able to pick up again for the new fall season to wrap up her character's story.