CHICAGO (CBS) — A Northwest Indiana family shared a tragic update this week on the story of two brothers who had been in the hospital for months after developing severe COVID-19 cases.

Carlos Nunez, 18, of Lake Station and his younger brother, Pablo Nunez, had both been undergoing treatment at Christ Medical Center since April. Pablo was released from hospital in August and the family felt Carlos was also showing signs of improvement in recent weeks.

“It seemed as if his body was finally taking a turn for the better,” Carlos’ brother-in-law, Lonnie Bailey, said.

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“He was talking more and eating and laughing,” Carlos’ niece, Isabella Bailey, said.

Then, last weekend, the family’s hope was crushed.

“We were all devastated. My family and I we were awoke in the middle of the night from the painful screams of my wife hearing that her brother died,” Lonnie said.

The family says Carlos’ aorta ruptured unexpectedly at the hospital.

His body had been under a great deal of stress, in part from the ECMO machine needed to oxygenate his blood.

‘He just was the most caring, sweetest kid ever,” Isabella said.

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“We always play together and if any of us got hurt he always came to the rescue basically,” Carlos’ 10-year-old nephew, Christian Bailey, said.

Carlos was known at Edison High School in Lake Station as “Oso”—Spanish for “bear.”

‘He left a legacy and is very well known for being, as I mentioned a big teddy bear but just a big strong, caring loving presence.” Lonnie said.

Now Pablo is out of the hospital—helping his family prepare for his brother’s funeral.

The family says both brothers planned to get vaccinated but got sick in April before they got the shot.

“We believe in the vaccine but for those that don’t, we just wanna tell people at least please be safe and respectful of others. You know, wear masks and just treat this very seriously. Because if we could save just one life it would keep another family from going through what we are.” Lonnie said.

The family says Carlos did not have any major underlying health conditions.

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They had launched a GoFundMe to help fund a nice gift or family trip once the boys were both out. Now, sadly, they say those funds will be used in part to pay for the funeral.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff