CHICAGO (CBS) — There was a happy homecoming Thursday for Claudio Velez, known to many Chicagoans as the Tamale Guy, who was hospitalized on a ventilator for more than a month after getting sick from COVID-19.

Family members and staff at Rush University Medical Center gave a big round of applause for Velez as he was discharged from the hospital on Thursday. He was hospitalized for 35 days.

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Velez officially opened Tamale Guy Chicago at Damen and Chicago avenues earlier this month. Donations from loyal customers help him set up shop, but then Velez got COVID-19 and was left on a ventilator in intensive care.

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Those loyal customers stepped in again, bringing in nearly $60,000 to help with Velez’s medical bills.

His family is just thankful to have him home.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff