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A local labor union and family members are mourning Reyernesto “Rey” Mendoza, a longtime metal sheet worker who died of COVID-19 complications. He was 57.

Ofelia Mendoza, his wife of 22 years, said Rey was working in good health until the time he fell ill in late March.

He was initially sent home after being diagnosed with pneumonia, but returned to the hospital two days later after learning that he had tested positive for COVID-19, Ofelia said. It’s unclear how he might have caught the virus, according to his wife.

Rey never came home, and he died on April 14, Ofelia said. He left behind a daughter and six grandchildren.

“I’m at a loss,” Ofelia said. “I don’t know what to do.”

Rey belonged to SMART Local 105, which set up a GoFundMe page asking members to help his family.

In a message on the website, SMART Local 105 Vice President Steve Hinson described Rey as someone who always had a smile on his face and a positive attitude.

On Facebook, many of his fellow union members expressed their condolences and described Rey as a hard worker.

“Rey was one of those guys you meet along your path that you would never forget. A great man who will be missed dearly,” one member wrote.