A San Jose family and the San Francisco 49ers are mourning a beloved man who died this week.
Jose Vasquez, a facilities associate with the team, lost his battle with kidney and liver disease Tuesday. He did not have COVID-19, but he was in the hospital at a time when only two family members could be with him in his final moments.
“Not being able to be on his bedside to hold his hand when he took his last breath just killed us,” Maria Zavorskas, Jose’s daughter, said.
The rest of the family watched the painful moment on FaceTime outside his hospital window.
“We were not able to visit him, to be by his side because of this whole COVID thing going on,” Zavorskas said. “It really, really hurts us because we lost so much time and all that was taken away from us.”
Vasquez worked mostly in the offices but had a hand in the field as well, using his green thumb to ensure the 49ers had the best place to play.
“Just how his garden here and everything's green, he made sure that training facility and that 49er field stayed green every single day," Vanessa Vasquez, Jose’s granddaughter, said.
Jose Vasquez was also revered by his other family in Santa Clara. On Thursday, Bill Howell, Director of Facilities for the 49ers, issued the following statement:
"We were so sad to learn from Jose’s family that he had passed. He was a special guy with a huge heart, who came to work every day with a big smile. Jose was someone you just enjoyed being around. For years, the facilities team has organized a Holiday lunch for the coaches, players and football staff. Jose and his family have a catering business and they took such great pride in preparing the food for the team. It became a great tradition that we look forward to continuing in his memory."